A man has been taken to hospital following a house fire at Manly.

Just before 8.00am this morning (Sunday, 08 January), NSW Ambulance paramedics driving along Sydney Road, Manly, came across residents waving frantically on the street and saw flames coming from an upper floor window of a home. They stopped and made an urgent call for the attendance of Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW).

With Manly Fire Station only a few hundred metres away, both their crews, including their ladder truck, were on scene within three minutes. Seeing flames coming from the upper floor of the two-storey brick, stone and tile residential house, they declared a second alarm fire, with additional crews from Dee Why, Forestville, Mosman and Neutral Bay Stations responding to the scene.

The fire had started in a home office which was on the upper floor, with the three occupants of the home, a man, his female partner and child, alerted by a smoke detector. Initially, the man sought to fight the flames himself, but with the fire escalating, made the decision to leave the house and join his family who had self-evacuated.

According to FRNSW Duty Commander Mark McKay, who was at the scene, the man made the right decision to leave instead of fighting the flames himself.

Mark McKay

Mark McKay

“He made a good call, he had a quick attempt to extinguish the fire and then bailed out quickly because that’s when the room filled up with smoke and heat. Then it gets very dangerous, very quickly.

“That’s our message. Get out, stay out, call Triple Zero (000). You do have instances of people going back in [to burning homes] to get something. They go in to get a picture or something inconsequential. There’s lots of cases where people have gone back in and been overcome and perished. Just call Triple Zero,” warned Insp McKay.

Manly House Fire

With a crew of firefighters from Manly Station first on scene, power and gas were switched off, and they made immediate entry to the home in breathing apparatus with two lines of hose. They were able to have almost immediate effect, knocking the main fire down quickly. There was some spread of the fire to a roof space, but the fire was controlled and fully extinguished by 8.30am.

According to Inspector McKay, although initial crews gained control of the fire, over 20 firefighters attended the scene to ensure sufficient resources were on hand until the situation was deemed under control.

“On initial reports, with flames visible, we get as many appliances there as we can early. They can always be called off if not needed. The Manly Station crew did very well to get in very quickly and contain the fire to the room of origin, or it could have gone through the roof and involved the whole top floor.

“It shows how important it is to have working smoke detectors. Given the time of day on a Sunday morning, people may still have been asleep. That’s when you need smoke detectors working, when you may be asleep or not paying attention,” said Insp McKay.

Manly House Fire

With NSW Ambulance paramedics on scene from the beginning of the incident, the three occupants of the home were assessed, but the man insisted he was fine and did not require treatment. FRNSW Duty Commander Mark McKay said that once everything had calmed down a little later, they asked him to reconsider and called for another ambulance.

“Initially he didn’t want to be transported by the first ambulance, but once the initial excitement died down, he had some soot around his nose and mouth, and he realised that he was coughing and spluttering, so we felt he had got a bit of smoke inhalation and called for medical attention,” said Insp McKay.

Another ambulance was requested, treating the man in his 50s for smoke inhalation and finding that he also had some minor burns to his upper back. He was treated and taken to Royal North Shore Hospital in a stable condition. The man’s partner, child and their two pets, a dog and cat, were otherwise unharmed.

There was no threat to adjoining properties from the fire, but Sydney Road was closed temporarily in both directions by NSW Police. The cause of the fire is not yet known, but occurred in a home office and is not considered suspicious.

Just before 11.30am, firefighters left the scene in the hands of officers from Northern Beaches Police Area Command to conduct an investigation. Builders were seen at the property this afternoon making repairs (image above).

Images: 9 News, Luke Gavahan

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