House gutted by fire in Christchurch red zone

Arsonists struck again in Christchurch’s residential red zone today, with a two-storey house razed in the early hours.

Fire fighters were called to the River Rd, Richmond, home about 3am and spent more than seven hours on the scene.

They returned about 3pm to dampen down hotspots.

It is the latest in a series of suspicious fires in the city’s red zone, however a fire boss says the area is no more problematic for arsons than other areas of the city.

Fire investigator Graham Davies said the house was unoccupied when the fire broke out, but neighbours had seen squatters in the house ‘‘from time to time’’.

The fire appeared to have started on the ground floor, and most of the house, now owned by the Government, was completely destroyed.

Davies said it was the third large wooden villa in a 100m radius destroyed in a suspicious fire in recent months.
‘‘Because there’s not a lot of people around, they get reasonably big before they are noticed,’’ he said.

The Press