Ex­posed tim­ber spreads fire quickly to neigh­bour­ing houses

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

A sus­pi­cious fire that ripped through three houses at the week­end is still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

It started about 8.20pm on Satur­day in a house in West End Rd, West­mere that was be­ing ren­o­vated.

About 15 fire trucks were sent to bat­tle the blaze which also caused ex­ten­sive dam­age to two neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties.

Se­nior fire in­ves­ti­ga­tor Rus­sell Dick­son says the blaze was so in­tense neigh­bours re­ported see­ing a fire­ball.

Be­cause of the con­struc­tion work in the house where the fire orig­i­nated there was a lot of ex­posed tim­ber and this helped the fire to build and spread quickly, he says.

Mar­garet Lewis, who owns one of the homes dam­aged in the fire, says she ran out of her home when she heard voices.

‘‘I don’t know whether my house was al­ready on fire but when I opened the door the whole [of the next door] roof was ablaze.’’

Neigh­bour Mary Ir­win says she’d been told to leave her home be­cause of fears the fire may have spread.

‘‘When we came out, the house was ablaze and the one on the right was charred. Then, all of a sud­den, the one on the left was go­ing up and ev­ery­one was rush­ing about.’’

An­other neigh­bour, Hil­lary King, says the house wasn’t oc­cu­pied.

‘‘It wasn’t lived in and it was one of the old­est houses and the most derelict.’’

Avon­dale po­lice De­tec­tive Sergeant Nina Pedersen says five teenagers have been in­ter­viewed in re­la­tion to the fire, but no charges have yet been laid.

Pho­tos: GRA­HAME COX

In­tense: The sus­pi­cious blaze de­stroyed one house and dam­aged two oth­ers.

Ablaze: Mar­garet Lewis owns one of the homes dam­aged in the West­mere blaze.

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