Fire crews attending the blaze on Western Hills Drive. Photo / Angela Woods
A man was injured in a fire at a unit on Western Hills Drive, Whangārei on Monday afternoon.
Two fire appliances and an operational support unit responded to the fire shortly after 1pm. The injured man was taken to hospital, and the flat was destroyed, although two adjoining units appeared largely undamaged.
Whangārei fire brigade senior station officer Paul Ballantine said the injured man told firefighters the blaze was started by unattended cooking.
“He’s put something on the stove and then fallen asleep,” Ballantine said.
Fortunately, he was woken by a smoke alarm, and Ballantine said although the man had “extensive burns” he would recover from his injuries.
A St John spokesperson said one ambulance and a rapid response vehicle were sent to the fire, after they were notified around 1.20pm.
“One person was taken to Northland Base Hospital in a moderate condition,” the spokesperson said.
The fire was extinguished within a few minutes once firefighters arrived. Police also attended to provide traffic control.
Neighbours in the block of four flats were able to stay in their units.
“The units adjoining have been damaged by smoke, but fortunately there were firewalls between dwellings,” Ballantine said.
Smoke alarms are real life saver in a house fire and Fire and Emergency NZ advise people to test smoke alarms regularly and replace batteries at least once a year.