Ran­giora house fire dev­as­tates fam­ily

Northern Outlook - - FRONT PAGE - KIM NUTBROWN

A North Can­ter­bury fam­ily say they have lost ev­ery­thing fol­low­ing a house fire in Ran­giora on Thurs­day.

The fire started at the Housing New Zealand house on the cor­ner of White and Rata Street about 9.30 this morn­ing.

Shane Prest and his teenage son Cameron were in the house at the time.

‘‘ I just heard the smoke alarms go off, I went for a look around as they have gone off for no rea­son be­fore.

‘‘I saw the fire in the boys’ room. Cameron was in the shower. I banged on the door and told him to get dressed and get out.

I grabbed a blan­ket and tried to put the fire out but it was too far gone so we raced out­side,’’ Prest said.

Louise Knight was on a bus when she saw the flames and yelled at the driver to stop and let her off.

‘‘I banged on the door to check no one was in­side and then phoned 111.’’

Shane’s wife, Ka­t­rina Prest, was at work when she got the phone call from her hus­band to say the house was on fire.

‘‘I just broke down. Some­one from work had to drive me here. I just ab­so­lutely lost it.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing we own in the world was in there, all our clothes, fur­ni­ture, fridge and food.

We’ve lost kids’ school re­ports and photos. Where do we live, where do we go?’’

The Prest’s who have five chil­dren, four of which were at school at the time of the fire say they hoped their con­tents in­sur­ance was up to date.

The fam­ily have lived in the housing New Zealand home for the past 18 months.

Ran­giora Chief fire of­fi­cer Hamish Peter said the house has suf­fered ex­ten­sive dam­age.

‘‘It was a pretty quick re­sponse and the fire was con­tained fast, but there has been sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to the in­side of the house and up into the roof struc­ture.’’

Peter said it’s too soon to know the cause of the blaze. He said they were fo­cus­ing on mak­ing the struc­ture safe for the fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors to get in­side.

Neigh­bour Jean­nie Ran­dles walked past the house on her morn­ing walk at 9:10 and she said only 20 min­utes later she could see the flames from Dud­ley Park.

‘‘I couldn’t be­lieve it, it all just hap­pened so fast. The fire crews put the flames out quickly.’’

Shane Prest said they would be going to stay with Ka­t­rina’s mother in Wood­end.

KIM NUTBROWN/STUFF

The Prest fam­ily look on as their house is dev­as­tated by fire.

LOUISE KNIGHT

Wit­nesses say the Ran­giora house on the cor­ner of White Street and Rata Street was fully en­gulfed in flames within a mat­ter of min­utes.

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