Couple lose all when home burns

A married couple say they have lost everything after a fire gutted their first home in New Zealand.

An electric blanket sparked the blaze at the home of Nick Divers and Monika Divers-Sidor in Alana Pl, Blenheim, on Monday.

The couple bought the property a year ago after moving from London and considered it a long-term home.

Engineer Divers was at work when he received a call his house was on fire. "I dropped the phone and got in the car," he said.

When he arrived at the scene, 20 firefighters were battling the blaze. A neighbour had smashed the windows and put a garden hose in to try and put out the fire.

"The house is gutted. It is horrifying to see it in such a state. It will have to be rebuilt.

"The only possessions we have are the clothes we had been wearing. Everything is gone," Divers-Sidor said.

Their beloved 3-year-old cat Pickle died in the blaze.

"We have lost something money can't buy. We shipped her over when we moved from London. She held a special place," she said.

Another of their cats, Lola, has been missing since the fire.

Blenheim chief fire officer Rob Dalton confirmed an electric blanket was the cause of the fire.

"To the best of our knowledge the electric blanket was switched off at the wall. We must have accidentally bumped the switch," Divers said.

Divers' employers had found the couple a temporary stay at Chardonnay Lodge, in Rapaura, and they were looking for a rental property.

The Marlborough Express