NZSO violinist's instruments destroyed in fire
BREAKING NEWS REPORTER
Their 6-month-old daughter is fine but a Highbury couple lost four valuable instruments as their home burned in a spectacular blaze on Monday night.
Eight fire engines were sent to Koromiko Rd in the Wellington suburb about 8pm as Chris and Anna van der Zee's rented house was engulfed in flames.
Neighbours described foot-long embers flying into the air and windows of nearby houses bursting from the heat.
Mr van der Zee said two violas and two violins went up in the blaze. His wife is a first violinist at the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. He said the instruments could be replaced, but not to their true value.
"An instrument develops over time."
While Mrs van der Zee and her young daughter fled the house, Mr van der Zee had been watching the Flight of the Conchords at TSB Arena and found out about the blaze only via a text message.
Staying with friends, Mr van der Zee said their daughter was doing well. "She is doing the best of all of us."
Fire safety officer Bruce Cole said it was too dangerous to continue investigations on the cause but it appeared the fire started with a cloth over a bedside lamp.
It was now over to Wellington City Council to arrange for the building to be knocked down, he said.
Graeme McLellan's house, only a few metres away, was badly damaged inside and he lost nearly all of his personal belongings. He and flatmate Barryn Westfield heard his windows popping from the heat of the blaze next door.
Mr Westfield said they ran next door to check on the family. "I could hear a girl screaming, I thought they got to a neighbouring property as it was all pretty thick in flames."
Also on Monday, a man was arrested after a house fire in Roberts St, Tawa, about 7.30pm. A person was treated for smoke inhalation.
In a third incident, two European men were spotted leaving the scene of a car fire in Vogeltown just after 1am. The fire service was alerted to the Subaru station wagon on fire and was treating the blaze as suspicious.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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