House destroyed as gas fuels fire

MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 11:59 26/06/2012

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Petrol and LPG fuelled a fire that ripped through a West Auckland house, acting like a "flame thrower", according to a fire investigator.

The house in Waitemata Dr, Ranui, will likely be demolished after flames from a camping-style gas cooker set the garage alight on Sunday.

The fire quickly spread from a corner of the garage before being funnelled into the house.

"Basically it was like somebody standing with a flame thrower going through the place," fire safety officer Russell Dickson said.

Dickson said the occupant of the house had lit the commercial-sized gas ring and gone inside to get food to cook.

When he returned he saw the flames had caught a corner of the garage.

The man attempted to put it out but suffered burns to his hands and smoke inhalation. He was hospitalised for treatment but his wounds were not serious.

It is not known what caused the fire to spread from the gas cooker.

Dickson said neighbours who saw the fire were shocked by the speed at which it took hold.

"Once the fire originated in the garage and developed quickly it didn't take long to spread through the house.

"It just went racing through there."

Fortunately both the occupant and the owner were insured, Dickson said.

Dickson said it was a reminder to never leave a fire unattended, or at least close doors to help slow the advance of a fire.

People should also test their gas equipment to check for leaks before they used it, he said.

"We have it every year... people don't always make sure nothing's leaking before they use them."

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