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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 4 (July 1, 1935.)

Escape from the House of Death

Escape from the House of Death.

I soon discovered Miss Haszard and Mr. Blythe near me. It then occurred to me that the present situation was a good one to get out of, so I set to work to break the windows. The glass I could break with my hands (later on I found that I had cut my hand rather badly in doing this). The wooden part of the window was not so easily broken, so I set to work and completed the job with my foot, and eventually got both my companions out. We then made for the old residence close by. Mr. Blythe wanted to go inside, but one experience of a collapsed roof was enough for me. I found that the ground was covered with mud to the depth of some 4 feet. That would be a fairly good test for a roof to stand, so I insisted on our standing under the verandah, so that if the roof should collapse we had a chance to escape the consequences.

I went out in front of the building we had just left and called out, trying to ascertain if anyone else had escaped or were alive, but the noise was so terrific that I could not hear anything. After a short while (it seemed ages to me) we found that the house was on fire. What caused it I do not know. Probably it was some hot stones. Occasionally we experienced a hot suffocating wind and possibly the house was struck by lightning.