Bluff house seriously damaged in fire

BRIDGET RAILTON
Last updated 00:40 13/08/2014
Fire
JOHN HAWKINS

IN SHOCK: Michael Hawke speaks with volunteer fire brigade deputy chief Paul Taylor after his rented house was seriously damaged in a fire.

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Bluff man Michael Hawke was visiting a friend when he got the news no-one wants to hear.

Flames and smoke had been spied billowing from a chimney in his rented McDougall St home yesterday afternoon.

A neighbour said her husband's friend noticed a "whole lot of smoke" blowing from Hawke's property. It started off slowly, but "took off in a big hurry," she said.

Hawke said he "flew" back around to his place to see what was going on.

The fire, which was called in about 2.15pm, had started around the fireplace and quickly spread up the wall, he said. His dog and a goat, which were tied up separately outside, were both safe.

Bluff volunteer fire brigade deputy chief fire officer Paul Taylor said the cause of the fire was unknown but he confirmed it appeared to have started around the fireplace.

"Something's ignited around the fireplace then gone up into the ceiling," Taylor said.

"It's stuffed the ceiling."

"It's stuffed the house," a shaken Hawke added.

Taylor said it was mostly smoke and water damage, however, it was likely the ceiling would have to come down.

Three fire engines attended the scene, with eight men using breathing apparatus because of asbestos in the roof, Taylor said.

Fire investigators would attend the scene to determine the cause.

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- The Southland Times

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