Po­lice say fa­tal Ti­rau fire is sus­pi­cious

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - PHILLIPA YALDEN

Po­lice are treat­ing the fire in a Ti­rau home where a woman’s body was dis­cov­ered early Mon­day as sus­pi­cious.

The 58-year-old res­i­dent was found dead in the liv­ing area ad­join­ing the kitchen and lounge af­ter calls re­port­ing the house ablaze at 3.30am.

About 50 per­cent of the small weath­er­board home was fully en­gulfed in flames by the time the first of four fire crews ar­rived.

The 58-year-old grand­mother had lived in the run down home for some­time and was well liked by neigh­bours.

Those who knew her in the small ad­join­ing street a block back from the cen­tre of Ti­rau said she kept the ren­tal tidy and was al­ways friendly.

She had fam­ily not far away who vis­ited from time to time.

Some of those fam­ily mem­bers ar­rived at the cor­don on Mon­day vis­i­bly up­set, some cry­ing on the street.

The woman’s es­tranged hus­band ar­rived at the house around mid­day with his daugh­ters.

He had heard of the fire on the news and driven past the house ear­lier on.

‘‘I drove past ear­lier and looked down but I couldn’t see any dam­age to the house so I car­ried on and saw the cop cars down here,’’ he said point­ing to one end of the street.

‘‘I didn’t re­alise it was my ex un­til I got to Hamil­ton and my girl rang me up to say.’’

He was too up­set to speak any fur­ther.

The house had re­cently been put on the mar­ket for $179,000.

A de­scrip­tion of the prop­erty on the real es­tate web­site de­scribes the house as ‘‘ne­glected’’, but ‘‘well lo­cated’’ within walk­ing dis­tance of the Ti­rau shop­ping cen­tre and cafes.

The first call re­port­ing the fire came from a neigh­bour, Fire Service Lakes Dis­trict as­sis­tant area man­ager Hamish Smith said.

‘‘When the first crews ar­rived over 50 per cent of the house was fully in­volved in fire. Ba­si­cally the front half of the prop­erty.’’

A spe­cialised team of fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors, po­lice pho­tog­ra­phers and CIB were con­duct­ing a scene ex­am­i­na­tions of the house later on Mon­day.

De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Matt Cran­shaw said the fire was be­ing treated as sus­pi­cious un­til proven oth­er­wise.

A lot of work needed to be done at the scene be­fore the cause would be known, he said.

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