Neighbours swift actions may have saved a Palmerston North man’s life, says Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
Matthew Weavers heard a smoke alarm sounding from the house next door, alerting him to smoke filling his neighbour’s kitchen.
"After investigating, he saw the smoke was caused by a steak cooking on the stove and took it outside. He then realised someone was still in the house and called 111," says Fire and Emergency Station Officer Barry Madgwick.
"When our crew arrived, we found the occupant fast asleep. Needless to say, he got a bit of a shock to be woken up by firefighters in a smoke-filled house and was very grateful to his neighbour for preventing a potentially fatal situation."
Unattended cooking is the most common cause of house fires in New Zealand.
"A brief distraction while you are cooking has the potential for disaster," says Barry Madgwick.
"It’s lucky in this instance the neighbour found the smoke before a fire started."
It serves as a good reminder to check that your household has working smoke alarms.
"Without the smoke alarm alerting the neighbour to the smoke, this situation could have turned out very differently," says Barry Madgwick.
"If you see, hear or smell anything out of the ordinary at a neighbour’s house, like smoke or the sound of smoke alarms - call 111. You could be saving a life."