Takeaway a clue in siege-house blaze
‘‘Due to the very sensitive nature of recent events in Kokiri Cres, witnesses were reluctant to give their names,.’’
It was too dangerous for investigators to enter the charred ruins of a Porirua house – so the arson is likely to remain a mystery.
The suspicious fire ripped through the state house only weeks after tragic events at the property ended in a 26-hour siege and gunman Pita Tekira’s death in another flat on the same street on April 23.
However, there is one clue in the 26a Kokiri Cres arson case, the location where Tekira killed police dog Gazza and a policeman was injured leaping through a window.
Someone left behind some food in polystyrene container, the kind commonly used by Chinese takeaway shops.
‘‘This contained a metal spoon and still looked relatively fresh when it was found by police,’’ Detective Sergeant Dave Jones said.
‘‘We are currently testing this container and spoon to see if we can find any evidence.’’
Fire investigator Russell Postlewaight said the ruins were too hazardous to walk through.
‘‘The fire started in the lounge and burned freely and fiercely through the rest of the house. It made it difficult for the firefighters to make entry.’’
His report, released under the Official Information Act, said the Housing New Zealand flat’s occupant was away on May 1 when neighbours awoke to the sound of explosions.
One told investigators he stepped outside in time to see fire coming from the lounge window. He called 111 and the first fire truck was there within six minutes, but the house was already consumed.
Its roof contained asbestos, a fire retardant historically used in construction.
Due to the asbestos and the ‘‘severe’’ destruction of the upper floor, police and fire investigators agreed it was too dangerous to inspect inside, so they examined the house from the outside only, using a fire engine’s ‘‘snorkel’’ to lift them over the property.