Porirua fire started by kids

TIM DONOGHUE
Last updated 14:59 25/02/2014
fire
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ

PLAYED WITH FIRE: The house gutted by fire on Hereford St, Porirua.

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Police say children 'up to mischief' and playing with matches started a fire which destroyed a large house in Porirua on Monday night.

Detective Sergeant Josh McAllum said police and fire service investigators conducted a thorough examination of the property today and concluded children had started the fire.

"It appears children set fire to a mattress in a downstairs hallway which caused the fire. This case is a very timely reminder for people to keep matches out of the reach of children," Mr McAllum said.

As part of their investigation police investigators spoke to the representative of the family trust which owns the property, Shona Holborow.

She visited the family trust's totally-gutted property between noon and 1pm today.

During that time she met with two tenants who were forced to flee from the burning home on Monday night.

A family of eight, including four children, escaped the large house fire.

Ms Holborow politely declined any comment on the damage to the property.

Neighbours said they had seen children playing with matches outside the Hereford Street property before the blaze.

Fire crews were still dampening down hotspots at the scene until midnight on Monday night.

A Wellington Free Ambulance spokesman said there were eight people outside the house when paramedics arrived. Two were checked for symptoms of smoke inhalation at the scene.

A family member confirmed the four adults and four children living at the house were all at home and escaped the two-storey blaze just in time.

Witnesses to the fire said in comments online that fire crews had acted quickly to get the fire under control to stop it spreading to nearby homes.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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