Up in smoke
Fiery homecoming as shed razedKATHRYN KING
Driving from Palmerston North to Sanson in the early morning, knowing a plume of smoke billowing in the distance was coming from their home, was distressing for a young Sanson couple.
Nicole Rose and Levi Olsson, both 21, were in Palmerston North when they received a call to say their garage and adjoining gardening and toolshed had gone up in flames about 5am yesterday.
Ominous popping sounds and a barking dog alerted a neighbour to the fire, who at first thought it was fireworks, but soon saw it was much more serious.
Inside the Sanson house, three of Miss Rose and Mr Olsson's flatmates slept, oblivious until frantic knocking on the windows woke them up.
"We rushed here, and it was already pretty much gone. We couldn't believe it," Miss Rose said.
The intense heat of the flames cracked a window in the house, and melted the back of Miss Rose's vehicle parked in the car port.
The hedge, edge of the car port, and a punga fence burst into flames, and the tar in their driveway started to boil.
Combustibles in the shed used in Mr Olsson's work painting cars exploded, as did a full oil drum sitting next to the shed, sending its heavy metal lid flying into a neighbouring property.
Among the wreckage in the shed was a Ford Falcon Mr Olsson was restoring for someone else.
"We just had a 21st, so we had brand new tools, they've all gone to nothing," Miss Rose said.
The pair, who rent the home from Mr Olsson's parents, were insured, as were his parents.
Later in the day, they were tasked with wetting flakes of toxic asbestos that had lined the shed so they weren't breathing in its dust.
"We are grateful no-one was hurt - if no-one had woken our flatmates, that just freaks us out the most. We are so grateful and thankful for our neighbours and our community."
A fire investigator had been to see the shed and had narrowed the cause down to two possibilities; a radio left on standby shorting out, or a spark coming in from fireworks let off earlier that night.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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