5 Apr 2015

Grandmother saves six in blaze

12:42 pm on 5 April 2015

Police and fire crew are praising the actions of a 66 year old woman who saved six children from a house fire in Gisborne last night.

The house this morning.

The house this morning. Photo: RNZ / Murray Robertson

Three of them were her grandchildren.

The fire broke out at about 11 pm in the kitchen of a house in Valley Road in the suburb of Mangapapa.

The woman woke up when she smelt smoke but was barred by flames from getting to the room where the children were sleeping.

So she rushed outside, and went around the building to get in through a side window.

Fire crews said she then went inside the house, and rescued the children one by one, passing them through the window to another adult who lived in a sleepout on the property and had come to help.

The children were aged 2 to11.

All the children along with three adults, two of them police officers, suffered smoke inhalation and were taken to hospital.

They were treated and discharged.

Fire crews say the grandmother did exactly the right thing.

A specialist fire investigator Derek Goodwin said the children were got out of the house with very little time to spare.

"The people that got the children out were incredibly brave," he said.

"They really only had minutes before a rather catastrophic event, and I may have been looking at rather a different scene this morning than just a normal housefire - it would have been quite tragic".

Four fire appliances attended the blaze and the house was badly damaged.

Mr Goodwin adds the property had a smoke alarm, but he believes it was not working.

He said the Fire Service has a message to peoeple to check their smoke alarms and he suggests they do so on the day that daylight saving ends.