Witness hears screams of children during fatal Hastings fire, tells of efforts to put out blaze


A witness has spoken of hearing the screams of children at the scene of a fatal fire in Hastings.

David Jones and his team were working on cars when they heard screaming and saw thick black smoke that soon engulfed everything.
Source: 1 NEWS

The fire engulfed a building on Heretaunga Street West about 2.30pm yesterday.

A 10-year-old boy died in hospital from his injuries this morning and another child hurt in the incident remains in a stable condition, while three adults were discharged yesterday.

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Source: 1 NEWS

David Jones, who owns the motor shop next door to the building said he heard "serious screams" and a "massive poof" but didn't see flames.

He heard multiple children screaming in pain before seeing plumes of smoke coming from the neighbouring property.

"This was screaming with pain," Mr Jones said.

"Within two minutes the whole place was engulfed in black smoke and you couldn't see anything in front of you."

Police are urging motorists to avoid the area in Saint Leonards as firefighters battle blaze at The Storty Bar.
Source: Supplied

His workers were quick to put their own workshop hoses over the fence and one of their workers Paul, a local volunteer firefighter, rushed to help.

He says contractors from a nearby site rushed into the building as well and emergency services were on the scene within minutes.

The building which he says has been derelict for a year and a half, used to be an old motorbike workshop with wooden floors.

He occasionally went to check on the property and said he had never seen kids playing in it before.

The two children were helped from the building by three people who have also been taken to hospital.
Source: 1 NEWS

Paul, who didn't want to appear on camera, didn't need to go to hospital and was back at work today with a sore throat.

Police say the fire is being treated as suspicious and appealed for anyone with information to get in touch.

The building's owner Trevor Manuel says he is assisting police and fire staff. 

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