Oc­cu­pants are lucky

Central Leader - - News - By Rhi­an­non Hor­rell

Black­ened win­dows and mat­tress springs and a burned out shell is all that is left of an Avon­dale house af­ter it was swamped by flames ear­lier this month.

Ray Cole­man of Auck­land Fire Safety says three peo­ple were sleep­ing in the Race­course Pa­rade house when the fire broke out.

“It was a nar­row es­cape,” he says.

Paula Te­whe­oro has lived at the ad­dress for two years and was in the house when the fire took hold.

“The flames were com­ing out like a dragon.”

The house had no sprin­klers or smoke alarms, she says.

Ms Te­whe­oro’s part­ner Terrence Dav­ern was not in­side at the time, but in a garage nearby.

“Lucky no one was killed,” he says.

Mr Dav­ern says one of the oc­cu­pants jumped out a win­dow to safety. “It’s ab­so­lutely dev­as­tat­ing.” A neigh­bour called the fire bri­gade af­ter see­ing flames in the win­dow.

The Fire Ser­vice was called about 1.30am and Mr Cole­man says the blaze was un­der con­trol rel­a­tively quickly.

He says the cause of the fire is sus­pi­cious and po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

Ms Te­whe­oro and Mr Dav­ern say they are an­gry their land­lord is still charg­ing rent for the burned-out prop­erty.

“They are still charg­ing us rent. Un­be­liev­able,” she says.

Their land­lord was un­able to be reached for com­ment.

De­tec­tive se­nior sergeant Si­mon Scott says po­lice con­ducted a scene ex­am­i­na­tion and spoke to sev­eral wit­nesses and in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the fire are on­go­ing.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion can call the Avon­dale’s Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Bureau on 8205700.

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