Flat occupant's son charged with arson

A fire that gutted a Masterton flat yesterday was lit by the son of the occupant, police say.

The fire started in a William Kemp Pl flat about 2am, and quickly spread throughout the property.

Three fire crews - including one from Rimutaka - battled the blaze for nearly six hours, but were not able to stop the Trust House-owned property being gutted.

There was no-one in the property at the time.

Police arrested Eric Baden McIsaac, 22, who is the son of the man who lived in the flat, yesterday morning.

He was charged with arson and appeared briefly in the Masterton District Court. He entered no plea and was remanded in custody to reappear at court in January.

A woman who lives in the adjoining flat said she was woken by a series of bangs.

"Then I heard an explosion and breaking glass and timber," she said. "I went out the front there and saw flames shooting out the windows."

She ran back into the house to call 111, then grabbed her cat, "whom I'm very fond of", before leaving.

The woman, who did not want to be named, had lived in the flat for 30 years, and was being moved out this morning to another Trust House rental.

A neighbour said the flames were streaming out of the roof. "It was full-on blazing by the time we got up. It was pretty freaky."

The Dominion Post