Fierce blaze guts house, shed, car

JOEL MAXWELL
Last updated 12:59 12/12/2013
blaze

Intense blaze: A Derham Rd house burns in a fire that could be seen for kilometres on Saturday afternoon.

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Dozens of firefighters were called to a rural house fire that cast a "huge pall of black smoke" for kilometres on Saturday.

Otaki Volunteer Fire Brigade chief Ian King said emergency services were called at about 2.45pm to the fire on Derham Rd, south of Te Horo.

As the two trucks headed south from Otaki on State Highway 1 firefighters could see a huge pall of black smoke, he said.

"It looked pretty serious from then - and when we arrived it was a big shed, a car, and a house, all of them totally involved [with fire]."

Mr King said as well as the two Otaki trucks there was a Waikanae fire brigade truck and two units from the Te Horo Rural Fire Force - about 22 firefighters in total.

When fighting the blaze, the brigades topped up the about- 10,000 litres of water from their trucks with a supply from tanks on a neighbouring property, he said.

He said there was nothing the firefighters could do to save the house and shed when they arrived.

"We did push one of the vehicles away from the shed; it just got a bit of melted paint and plastic on that. It was pretty much all that came out of the property."

He said there were no people in the house, which was burning "from end to end".

"The roof was collapsing on the building, if they had been in there it would have been all over."

It took about half an hour for the firefighters to "knock down" the blaze to the point where it was under control, Mr King said.

They remained on site till about 6.45pm, he said.

He said the house was at the top of a hill, and exposed to Saturday's relatively high wind.

It pushed the fire through the buildings quickly, Mr King said, but allowed staff to avoid smoke exposure by fighting the blaze from upwind.

Mr King said the brigade arranged for the neighbours' water tanks to be refilled the next day, free of charge.

Police and the fire service were investigating the cause of the blaze.

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