A kind postie comforted a young mother and her children while firefighters put out a kitchen fire in their Hāwera home on Wednesday.
Ellen Te Waaka said she was attending to her three-month-old baby when the smoke alarm in her lounge went off just after midday.
A pot of oil on the stove that she was heating to cook chips for her three-year-old daughter Emmalee’s lunch had ignited.
“It was all black from the smoke and there was orange flames. I just picked up my baby and my little girl and ran out,” she said.
Once outside, Te Waaka realised she had no way of calling the fire brigade.
“I laid my baby down on the grass and ran back in to get my phone.”
The distressed family waited outside the house for the fire brigade.
“I was screaming for help but no one came,” she said. “Then the postie came along and saw me crying on the footpath, she asked if I was ok. I said, no, my house is on fire, and she grabbed Emma for me.”
The postie stayed with Te Waaka, cuddling little Emmalee, until well after the two fire trucks and crews from the Hāwera Volunteer Fire Brigade had arrived.
“She said she had came back because she had forgotten to post some mail. I don’t know her name, she’s the awesome postie lady,” Te Waaka said said.
The fire was quickly put out by firefighters with a dry powder extinguisher.
“They are very, very lucky people,” chief fire officer Mike Fairweather said.
“The smoke alarm activated early, that helped them get out of the house, it saved the house from becoming fully involved.”
Once firefighters had ventilated the house to remove the smoke, and checked for hot spots, the family was allowed back in.
Property manager Stanella Nui of First National Real Estate said the rented house had an extra smoke alarm installed in the lounge, as well as the ones required by law near the bedrooms, and this had activated, alerting the tenant to the fire very soon after it ignited.