Police investigate 'suspicious' fire

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 12:00 15/01/2014

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Police are treating a house blaze in Levin as suspicious after it caught fire on the same night as the owner took back possession of the rental property.

The two-bedroom house, at 8 Rugby St, was destroyed in the fire, which started about 11pm on Monday.

Firefighters who attended the fire said they believed it started in a bedroom. Police detectives and fire inspectors were at the house investigating yesterday. The owner of the house, Ian Jamieson, said the tenants, who had lived there since April 2012, had caused considerable damage to the house and sheds before handing in their notice.

A glazier sent to the house on Monday to assess the damage found about 14 broken windows, he said.

Repairs had been organised, but another young family due to move in tomorrow would now have to make other arrangements.

Mr Jamieson said he did not yet know if he would rebuild on the property, as it would come down to the outcome of the insurance inspection.

Neighbours heard loud noises before the house erupted in flames.

Neighbour Carenna Payton said she was woken by sirens and by the time she looked out, could see flames coming out of the roof and through the boards around the bottom of the house.

The house had been occupied by noisy, troublesome tenants who she had called police and noise control about in the past. "The police were there nearly every week." The street was otherwise quiet, she said.

Levin fire chief Lindsay Walker said the two-bedroom house was well alight when firefighters arrived.

Damage from the fire caused the roof to collapse, charred walls, left other rooms extensively smoke-damaged and with only a small percentage of floor space able to be walked on.

The roof, made of concrete tiles, had firefighters worried it would cave in during their efforts, so the fire could be fought only from outside.

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- Manawatu Standard

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