Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Lucky escape from fire

Seymour couple credit their survival to some incredible coincidences.

CHALPAT SONTI February 28, 2013 11:39am

Simone McLean is grateful her son Hayden (left) and his friend Daniel Jacobi stayed at her Seymour home on Sunday night.

If it wasn’t for a series of unforseen — and at the time annoying — happenings, Simone McLean has a good reason to believe she and husband Richard wouldn’t be alive to tell this tale.

It started on Sunday afternoon when their Shepparton-based son Hayden drove down to Seymour in a newly-bought car to visit.


The car broke down three times on the way. That was, in hindsight, the first piece of good fortune.

‘‘I couldn’t get anyone to stop and give me a hand,’’ Hayden McLean said.

So he pressed on to Seymour. There was nothing to do but stay the night, and it was then he decided to give his best mate Daniel Jacobi a call.

‘‘He helped me tow the car back here and I pressured him to stay the night as I needed a lift back home the next morning,’’ Mr McLean said.

He then went to bed at 1.15am on Monday. About 45 minutes later he was woken by the Highlands Rd home’s smoke alarms.

‘‘I came out (to the kitchen) and all I could see was smoke and (about 2m high) flames,’’ he said.

‘‘I started blowing on it to try and blow the fire out but I couldn’t put it out.’’

He then went to rouse his parents, who couldn’t hear the smoke alarms while asleep behind thick doors and walls.

Mr Jacobi also awoke and rushed into the kitchen where he started using glasses of water to extinguish the fire, an effort in which he and Mr McLean were successful.

The fire was started in small incense holders - which were made of wood not clay as the McLeans had thought - left burning.

The damage was largely confined to the wall behind the candles, but it wasn’t far from spreading further, and quickly.

And it was a grateful mother after the incident.

‘‘If it wasn’t for them (her son and Daniel, as well as the smoke alarms) we would have been incinerated,’’ Mrs McLean said.

‘‘It could have been fatal. I just want to make everyone aware of having smoke detectors — they saved our lives. They’re only $7 and they can save your life.’’

It is also important to have fire blankets readily available in the home (the McLeans had one but Hayden was unaware of it), and for those who already have smoke alarms, remember as daylight saving ends to check batteries.

Her son was left thanking what had earlier appeared to be his unlucky stars.

‘‘Everything happens for a reason, and if my car hadn’t broken down ...’’ he said.

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