AN EARLY morning phone call may have saved the life of an elderly Church St resident in Tamworth on Saturday morning.
Residents of a unit two doors up from Pauline Gardiner’s home were awoken by a nuisance phone call just before 1am on Saturday when they smelled smoke and decided to investigate.
The man and woman looked out their window and saw smoke coming from their 86-year-old neighbour’s home two doors down.
They ran down and the woman called out to alert Mrs Gardiner, the lone occupant of the house, that there was a fire.
Mrs Gardiner’s son, Kevin, said his mum woke up when she heard what she thought was loud hail on the roof, then saw a light and feared there was an intruder.
“She called out and when no one answered, she then heard the banging on the door,” he said.
“She went to the door, which was not smoke-affected at the time, and the neighbour took her across the road where they called the fire brigade.”
Mrs Gardiner had lived in the home for 25 years and had her right hip removed last year, so had mobility issues.
“It could have been a lot worse and luckily her hearing is still all right,” he said.
Mr Gardiner said it could have been a lot worse if the neighbours had not been woken by the phone call, as there was no smoke in the home at the time, so no indication of a fire inside the home.
The house was destroyed by the fire, but Kevin Gardiner and his wife are rescuing what they can of his mother’s possessions.
Tamworth police said the fire was believed to be caused by an electrical fault in the roof.
“The police were absolutely excellent, along with the firies and ambulance and the neighbours have all been so supportive,” Mr Gardiner said.
He said people should consider installing smoke detectors in their roof cavities, where they would detect the smoke before it entered the home.
Mr Gardiner’s daughter was storing many of her possessions in the garage of the home and they were also destroyed in the fire.
Mrs Gardiner is staying with her son and his wife.