Rangiora house fire devastates family
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.
The Prest family look on as their house is devastated by fire.
Witnesses say the Rangiora house on the corner of White Street and Rata Street was fully engulfed in flames within a matter of minutes.