Fire serves as reminder

WARNING: Do not dry clothes close to heating sources.
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Mid Cantabrians are being reminded of the ‘‘metre heater’’ rule after a house fire on Saturday.

Ashburton Volunteer Fire Brigade chief Alan Burgess said the fire in a farm workers’s house on Montalto Rd, about 20km from Mayfield, resulted in some damage to the structure of the lounge area and substantial smoke damage throughout the building.

The fire, about 3.15pm, was caused by a clothes horse being too close to a log fire.

Burgess said the metre heater rule meant clothes should be at least 1m away from heaters and log fires.

‘‘That’s the message that’s been touted for quite some time. You can understand people’s frustration in this sort of weather being so cold and damp, but you do stand the risk of things being a bit close.’’

Mayfield Volunteer Fire Brigade was the first responding unit, while the Ashburton brigade used a piece of its specialised equipment to extract smoke from the house.

Mayfield chief Alex Quigley said when Mayfield firefighters arrived they saw the home occupant had been able to extinguish the blaze, believed to be with a fire extinguisher and garden hose.

The callout was followed by another for Ashburton on Monday, to an attached garage at a Tuarangi Rd, Netherby, property about 7.50am.

Burgess said the source was most likely an electric step-through scooter, which was being charged at the time. It was unknown if there was a fault in the battery, charger or elsewhere as the cause was still being investigated.

The garage was substantially damaged, while the scooter and two cars in the garage were destroyed.

The garage fire followed two others, where the investigations are complete and the cause is undetermined.

On June 6 a detached garage burned to the ground on Le Bretons Rd, while on May 26 a detached garage was destroyed in a blaze on Tucker St.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the cause of a fire which destroyed a farm worker’s house on a Pendarves farm last month has been completed.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand community risk manager Craig Chambers, based in Ashburton, said the cause of the fire was undetermined.

The fire started on the deck of the house, and burned it to the ground. The two young men inside were able to escape after one of them heard bottles falling on the deck, caused by the fire.