Suspicious house fire in Tokoroa
A fire that engulfed a Tokoroa house at the weekend is being treated as suspicious.
Police suspect the fire that took hold of a vacant Baird Street house at 4am on Sunday was arson and beer cans and RTD bottles were seized from the scene.
When Tokoroa fire crews arrived at the single-storey house, it was fully ablaze, Northern Fire Communications shift manager Steve Smith said.
There were no details on whether anyone was inside the house, Smith said, but the house had been vacant for some time.
Tokoroa fire chief Dave Morris said it took crews about 30 minutes to get the fire in the 10- by 8-metre house under control.
‘‘When we arrived, the wind and smoke were phenomenal. It was about 40kmh-strong winds, which fanned the fire.
‘‘It was a case of putting extra hoses in and co-ordinating an attack. We had to be careful which way we were going to fight the fire due to the excess wind and smoke.’’
‘‘When we arrived, the wind and smoke were phenomenal.’’ Dave Morris
Police were called in and placed a guard at the scene overnight.
Taupo Police Detective Sergeant Herby Ngawhika confirmed the fire was suspicious but there was no evidence of any accelerants being used.
Whatever ignited the fire was done underneath the house, below the kitchen.
‘‘We have seized some items for forensic testing – a couple of empty beer cans and an RTD bottle.’’
It confirms someone has been drinking at the empty property, he said.
‘‘There was no furniture inside the home. The only sign someone had been there was that someone had mowed the lawns not that long ago.
‘‘We have made some inquiries in the area, but there is nothing much to go on at this stage.’’
Tokoroa has become a hot spot for suspicious fires at empty properties.
In October last year, two vacant houses went up in flames in fires that were deliberately lit.
Then, in March this year, another empty property in Clyde Street was gutted by fire Zin the early hours of a Saturday morning.