Sus­pi­cious house fire in Toko­roa

South Waikato News - - Front Page - PHILLIPA YALDEN

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.

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