Police say fatal Tirau fire is suspicious
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.