Police believe Invercargill fire victim is a woman

Last updated 14:45 16/03/2014
fire
EVAN HARDING / Fairfax NZ
A firefighter at the scene of Sunday morning's fatal house fire in Invercargill.

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A person who banged on the door of a burning home in Invercargill potentially saved the lives of several other people, a police boss says.

Fire services were called to the blaze which killed one person, who police believe is a 45-year-old woman, and injured seven in Invercargill on the Bluff highway at 4.47am today. Police added that the victim is yet to be formally identified.

It is understood at least 10 people escaped from the house after someone driving past the house saw the fire and banged on the door.

Southern District Command Centre Senior Sergeant Matt Scoles said by raising the alarm, the passerby had potentially saved lives.

''It is a tragedy of the highest order.

''Under the circumstances, we might be lucky there weren't others in a more serious condition.''

A number of people were at the address at the time the fire started, with some believed to be residents of the house, he said.

He was unclear whether it was a party.

The fire started in the caravan and spread to the nearby house at 206 Bluff Road. False ceilings made fighting the fire difficult, authorities said.

A body was found in the caravan, which was located behind the house, authorities said.

A St John Ambulance spokesman said seven other occupants of the home were transported to Southland Hospital for smoke inhalation.

Scoles said he was unsure whether the deceased was a male or female, saying the body had yet to be formally identified.

He had no idea how the fire started, but police and a fire investigator remain at the scene this morning.

It is understood the body is still in the caravan.

Neighbours of the house said they did not wish to comment this morning, as they were grieving.

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- Fairfax Media

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