Cigarette lighter 'likely' cause of blaze
A blaze that gutted a family home last week was probably started by a young child playing with a cigarette lighter, fire risk management officer Phil Faidley says.
The fire started in a sleepout at the back of the Manurewa house and tore through the building in a matter of minutes.
Six people, including three children under the age of 4, were home at the time.
Construction worker Norm Heller was on a job two houses down and says the fire spread alarmingly fast.
"The wind just blew it right through," he says.
"By the time I came running down the flames were halfway through the house. I smashed the windows running down and yelling to see if anyone was inside. Luckily they all came pouring out the front."
Five fire engines were called to the house on Mahia Rd, where 16 firefighters took about 30 minutes to contain the blaze.
It caused "quite significant" damage to the home, Manurewa fire station officer William Pike says.
"The guys did a pretty aggressive attack and managed to confine it to the rear of the house."
Mr Faidley says no-one was injured in the blaze which was "most likely" sparked by one of the pre-schoolers.
"Officially I'm going to call it undetermined but there was a very high likelihood that there was the involvement of a young child with a cigarette lighter," he says.
"It's very important to keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
"A message to all children is that matches and lighters are tools and they're not toys."
The house was not fitted with smoke alarms, Mr Faidley says.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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