'Minutes literally mattered': Man saved from Dunedin house fire

Source: 1News

A man has been saved from a house fire in Dunedin after he was pulled from the smoke logged building by firefighters.

Emergency services at scene of house fire in Caversham, Dunedin.

Lookout Point Station Officer Peter O'Shea says crews were called to the scene on Peter Street in the Dunedin suburb of Caversham at 11.30am.

"Upon arrival with my crew we found the house heavily smoke logged but no persons outside" O'Shea says.

"My crew made entry, very quickly found one male inside the property who just collapsed in front them, they were able to grab him, drag him out, hand him over to other firefighters to do first aid while they carried on extinguishing the fire and searching the property."

The man has serious smoke inhalation and is in a serious condition.

Fire crews gave him oxygen as soon as he was pulled from the burning house.

He was then taken to hospital in an ambulance.

O'Shea says it was lucky on this occasion all Dunedin fire stations were open and all fire appliances were fully crewed.

"Which meant we were able to get trucks here really quickly and when I needed back up, we had more trucks coming to help," he says.

"Minutes literally mattered."

"He was still standing in the smoke when my crew got to him and he collapsed at that point, in 2 or 3 minutes with no oxygen or in a smoke area you can have brain death and we're not going to get him back, so minutes made a difference."

While O'Shea went on to say: "I have to be careful saying it's a rarity for all crews in the city to be open and all appliances to be fully crewed, it's a factor firefighters are dealing with nationwide.

"Stations being closed, career crews being short crewed, which is in part why we're taking industrial action," he says.

The fire has now been extinguished and fire safety teams will be investigating the cause of the blaze.