Fire extinguishers distributed to every household in West Auckland are continuing to prove their worth, says Laingholm Chief Fire Officer Graeme Booth, citing several recent examples when the extinguishers have helped contain fires and in one case, probably saved lives.
In the most recent example, quick thinking by Laingholm resident Helen Whitehouse contained a fire in her range hood. Graeme Booth says Mrs Whitehouse did exactly the right thing in turning off the electricity supply to the hood and then using the extinguisher to put the fire out. This prompt action resulted in the fire causing very little damage.
This is the third occasion in the Laingholm fire district alone, when one of the extinguishers has been used to help prevent a fire getting any larger, Mr Booth says.
The first involved a kitchen fire in a house off Laingholm Drive. The owner and a neighbour used two extinguishers to stop what would have been a very serious fire. Even then, the kitchen was quite badly damaged.
The second involved several young people rescued from a burning car. The vehicle had left the road and burst into flames after side-swiping a power pole and crashing into a building. With occupants trapped in the vehicle lives might well have been lost, except for the fact that nearby residents were able to use the fire extinguishers to push back the flames until the occupants were dragged free.
The Trusts CEO Simon Wickham says that the extinguishers were one of several life protecting gifts donated to West Auckland households over the last decade made by TTCF and its predecessors with profits from gaming machines in The Trusts West Auckland venues. Others included smoke alarms, first aid kits and self-charging torch-radios. Mr Booth says it is impossible to know how many fires the smoke alarms have warned the occupants of.