Family villa burns in 'devastating' fire

MARYKE PENMAN
Last updated 11:11 13/11/2012
Devonport fire
MARYKE PENMAN/Fairfax NZ

FAMILY HOME: Firefighters work to control the house fire in Allenby Ave, Devonport.

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Contractors were working outside at a North Shore villa when it caught fire this morning.

Three fire crews were called to the home in Allenby Ave in Devonport at around 9.45am.

No-one was inside when the fire started, but Takapuna senior station officer John Sweeney says contractors were working on the outside of the home at the time.

He says paint and other building materials were in use, but the exact cause is not yet known.

"The fire has gone up through the wall and into the ceiling," he said.

"Being an old villa the ceiling space is huge and there is very little access for us to get to the seat of the fire."

Fire crews from Birkenhead, Takapuna and Devonport wore breathing apparatus and worked for more than an hour to cut holes in the corrugated iron roof and douse the flames. 

"Removing the iron is a slow process and it is very hot inside for the guys," Sweeney said.

Three spots fuelling the fire had been mostly contained, but smoke was still escaping through the roof.

The fire looked to have extended through the front three rooms and Sweeney said the volume of water used will have caused further damage.

A neighbour said the blaze would be "devastating" for the family.

"It is a beautiful old villa so to see this happening is just heartbreaking."

The owner is believed to have insurance.

Power to the house was shut off while firefighters remained at the scene.

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