Garry’s quick-thinking praised by fire crew
Accessible Properties tenant Garry Hopa is a laid-back kind of chap, but he sprang into action when he saw a dangerous fire.
He’s been praised for stopping the fire from spreading and causing widespread damage.
Garry, 64, who lives in the Accessible Properties’ Graham Street complex in Hamilton, was first on the scene after a fridge went up in flames recently at Robyn Cann’s nearby unit.
“I was moving some pot plants from my place to my girlfriend’s on a trolley and I went around the corner and seen all this smoke,” Garry says.
“I dropped what I was doing and ran and got my hose. The lady was outside, crying. I said, ‘Stand back, I’ve got this under control’. I went inside – it was horrible. The fridge was up in flames.”
Robyn had only recently moved into her home and had popped to a neighbour’s place for a cup of coffee.
While a call went to the fire service Garry and another tenant with a hose got the fire under control.
“The fire brigade turned up and we left it to them,” Garry says.
But one of the fire crew later tracked him down and told him he’d “done a good job”, Garry says.
“I’d gone home and had a beer – it tasted bloody lovely.”
The fire caused extensive damage to the unit but, while lamenting the loss of her belongings, Robyn is full of praise for Garry.
“If it hadn’t been for those two guys, who knows how much more damage would have been done. It would have been much worse.”
Accessible Properties Tenancy Manager Linda Kelm-Handley is helping Robyn to find a new place to live. “We’ll make sure Robyn is well looked after – the most important thing is she’s safe and well.”
Linda says Accessible Properties is very grateful to Garry for his actions.
“Garry’s intervention helped stop the fire from going into the roof space, where it could have affected the units in the block.”
Linda presented Garry with a $50 supermarket voucher in appreciation of his quick action.
Garry also made the news with an article on Stuff by the Waikato Times.
Above: Linda Kelm-Handley and Garry Hopa at the Graham Street complex in Hamilton.