Girl in car fire remains critically ill

Last updated 10:23 09/04/2013

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A three-year-old girl burnt in a car fire last week remains in a critical condition at the burns unit in Middlemore Hospital.

Police and the Fire Service are still investigating the cause of a fire that left the girl and her 22-month-old brother badly burnt, but said it was likely the children started the fire themselves when playing with a lighter.

They were left unattended in the car, while their mother was shopping.

The 22-month-old is still in Waikato Hospital.

Police said they were still interviewing a number of witnesses, including the children's parents, who had travelled to Auckland to be with their daughter.

Gisborne man Mutu Ngarimu rescued the two young children, and pulled them from the burning car when it went up in flames about 4.30pm last Thursday.

He said he did not consider his own safety, he just did what he could to ''make things right''.

He grabbed an extinguisher and rushed across the road. The inside of the car was completely black with smoke and the fire appeared to be coming from the back seat, he said.

He put it out and then pulled the unconscious children from the car, performing CPR on the boy while another man who had run over to help revived the girl.

Their injuries were so severe that two firefighters had to drive the ambulances while paramedics worked on the children on the way to Gisborne Hospital, where they were initially taken.

Police said they did not know when the investigation would be completed.

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