Phone call led to house fire


Taking a phone call during a Boxing Day cook-up led to a Queenstown house going up in flames, a fire boss says.

Fire volunteers were called to a house on Frankton Road at 9.30pm tonight.

Queenstown station officer Roydon Cullimore says there was extensive smoke damage to the bottom flat of the three-level house, near The Rees Hotel.

“The young occupant’s been cooking, taken a phone call and gone outside – leaving the cooking unattended on the stove.”

The house had no working smoke alarms.

Cullimore says the fire went up the extraction unit, burnt through the wall and started to spread through the building.

“It’s good they called it in when they did – probably another five minutes we’d probably be looking at a lot more damage to the whole house. She would have been fully involved.”

No one was hurt.

It took four-to-five minutes for fire crews to be sure no one was in the building, to dampen down the fire and try to preserve as much of the building as possible.

Cullimore says two golden rules were broken – no working smoke alarms and not attending to cooking.

“It’s just the basics. All he did was answer his phone and walk outside.”

Traffic was temporarily stopped along Frankton Rd as the three fire crews got water from the Queenstown Hill side of the road.

Cullimore says power to the house has been isolated – and can’t go back on until it’s certified by an electrician.

That means the occupants might have to spend their Boxing Day night sleeping elsewhere.