A large house fire in Alexandra on Friday night which gutted a living area was believed to have been started by a toaster left on in the house.
Alexandra fire brigade deputy chief fire officer Mark Hutton said it appeared the fire was accidental.
The owners of the house in Old Bridge Rd, Nugent "Nug" and Beverley Dowling, believed it was caused by a toaster left on before the couple left to go to Wanaka.
Fortunately the Dowlings had closed the doors to the bedrooms and the fire was contained to the living room and the kitchen area, Mr Hutton said.
Investigations into the fire, believed to be one of the largest house fires in Alexandra for several years, were continuing.
Mr Dowling said they were relieved no-one was in the house and that they were fully insured.
The brigade was alerted to the fire at 5.21pm and two Alexandra fire trucks, one from Clyde, as well as a support vehicle and a command unit with breathing apparatus attended the scene.
Brigade station officer Shane Ryan said neighbours alerted them to the fire.
"Even coming here we could see very little smoke, double-glazed windows hold it all in," he said.
The fire underlined the importance of smoke alarms and of closing all doors before leaving the house, he said.
- The Southland Times