Cigarette a possible cause of mattress fire at Invercargill rest home

The small fire at Waikiwi Gardens resthome, Invercargill, resulted in 39 residents being evacuated on Saturday evening.
JOHN HAWKINS/FAIRFAX NZ

The small fire at Waikiwi Gardens resthome, Invercargill, resulted in 39 residents being evacuated on Saturday evening.

Firefighters believe a cigarette may have been the cause of a fire at an Invercargill rest home.

The 39 residents of the Waikiwi Gardens Rest Home on Ruru St were evacuated shortly before midnight on Saturday, after a mattress caught fire in one of the rooms.

The fire was extinguished by the sprinkler system by the time the fire service had arrived. 

The resident was not in their room when the fire started.

READ MORE:
Invercargill rest home residents 'really fortunate' to escape after mattress fire

New Zealand Fire Service Southland area commander Julian Tohiariki said a preliminary investigation found the fire was cause by an external ignition source on top of the mattress.

It was most likely a cigarette but no evidence of smoking was found in the room, Tohiariki said.

There was no electric blanket on the bed.

The fire was a timely reminder to the public about the danger of candles, matches and cigarettes in bedrooms and sleeping areas, he said.

The rest home had a good evacuation plan in place and the sprinkler system had the fire contained when firefighters arrived at the scene, Tohiariki said.

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