Derelict house goes up in flames
A derelict Raumati South house will have to be pulled down after a suspected arson on Tuesday.
The Glen Rd house erupted into flames about 4.20pm – soon after a neighbour saw four teenagers inside.
Shannon Robinson said the teens, including one in a school uniform, headed off down the road after she yelled out to them, asking what they were doing in the house.
She went back to work on her computer and soon afterwards heard strange sounds.
‘‘I heard popping and I thought there was something going on with my fire, so went to check it and there was a big loud bang and I looked out the window and saw it was fully ablaze.’’
She called the fire service and evacuated herself and her two children. She said the flames were leaping high into the air and getting close to the other neighbour’s house.
When firefighters arrived they initially worked to protect the other neighbour’s home, which was ‘‘starting to go’’ due to the heat, station officer Jason Brinck said.
‘‘It was smouldering ... that’s how hot it was.’’
Another minute or two more and it would have been up in flames, he said.
Three crews of firefighters brought the fire under control in about 20 minutes, with some remaining at the scene dampening hot spots until about 9pm.
Brinck said the house had been derelict for years and no one was inside. Firefighters did not enter the house until it was safe, due to it being clad in asbestos, and had to be washed down afterwards.
He said the house was unstable and unsafe and would have to be demolished.
Residents on the street said the derelict house had been used as a hangout by children and vandals had attacked it many times over the years.
One said the tenants were kicked out after a run of problem parties, and the power was turned off.
Robinson said she saw the teens about 15 minutes before she noticed the fire. She leaned over the fence and asked what they were doing and they said they were waiting on a friend.
‘‘I assumed they were having sneaky smoking sessions. It’s quite often frequented by teenage kids.’’
Police were investigating.