Fire wrecks home of 3 weeks
Neighbours alerted Fire ServiceSONIA BEAL
Volunteer firefighters spent more than four hours battling a house fire on a lifestyle block in the Wairau Valley, in Marlborough, on Saturday night.
Wairau Valley senior station officer Ian Topp said the new homeowners, a couple with a 10-year-old son, had moved in about three weeks ago and were not at home when the fire started.
Neighbours living about 300 metres away had alerted the Fire Service.
Volunteer firefighters from the Wairau and Renwick fire brigades and the Waihopai Valley rural fire brigade were at the house from about 8pm until 12.30am. They used five fire engines and two water tankers.
"It was well aflame when we got there," Mr Topp said.
"The roof was caving in and the ceiling was collapsing."
The house was about six years old and half of it had been burnt out, the roof caved in and the floors covered in ash, he said.
"It was a pretty large house fire," he said.
"In the 18 years I've been part of the service, we've only had two house fires here - this one and one about 14 years ago on the edge of the township."
That first house had been "totalled", but they had saved one end of this one - a bedroom and the kitchen.
Firefighters also managed to salvage a Mini and a dirtbike parked in the garage.
They believe the fire started in the roof.
The cause is being investigated by the Fire Service.
Mr Topp said the house ran on solar energy and was not connected to an electricity supply.
The homeowners had stayed the night with a friend.
They did not want to comment yesterday, except to say thank you to the firefighters "for doing a good job" and to the neighbours who alerted the Fire Service then started trying to get the fire under control. They also thanked a Wairau church for offering support, which they said was "decent and generous".
- The Marlborough Express