Newlyweds lose everything in fire

02:55, Mar 24 2014
winchester house fire
Neighbours talk to police after a house caught fire when a vehicle hit a power pole at Winchester.
winchester house fire
Emergency service personnel at the scene of a crash which started a house fire in Winchester.
winchester house fire
An investigation has been launched to work out why a house fire started when a power pole in Winchester was taken out in a crash.
winchester house fire
Little remains of a house, which ignited when a vehicle crashed into a power pole in Winchester.
winchester house fire
Thick fog in Winchester may have been a factor in a crash which ignited a house fire in Winchester.
winchester house fire
Emergency services get to work on an early morning house fire in Winchester.

A South Canterbury family whose house burnt down when a car crashed into a power pole have been overwhelmed with support from the community.

Simon and Samantha Norton said they were woken up by a "huge bang" on Sunday morning, to discover their house was ablaze within "a matter of seconds".

"It all happened so quickly," Simon Norton said.

Simon Norton in the ashes
DESTROYED: Simon Norton looks at what is left after a fire destroyed his family's home.

"We couldn't tell what was going on. We were lucky our son, Jack, was already awake and in the lounge.

"We grabbed our daughter, Lexi, our laptop, and just rushed outside, the whole place was burned so quickly."

A Mitsubishi Pajero with three occupants, hit the pole on State Highway 1 at 6.30am on Sunday, just outside the Nortons' house in Erskine Rd, Winchester.

Advertisement

The high-voltage lines then clashed with low-voltage circuitry, causing a spectacular power surge affecting households in Winchester, Orari, Geraldine and Temuka.

Police are still investigating the cause of the crash.

Simon Norton said the couple had lost "just about everything" in the fire, including the photos and gifts from their wedding, held just three weeks ago.

Samantha Norton said that in the last 24 hours, the couple had been overwhelmed with offers of help from the community.

"We simply don't know where we're going to put it all," she said.

"There have been nearly two truck-and-trailer loads full of gifts, food and supplies.

"A three year-old left a card for us, asking if our son, Jack, wanted someone to play with."

As a result of the car crash, power was out to more than 1200 homes in the area for most of Sunday, but contractors from lines company Alpine Energy fixed the fault.

"People just came from all around to help," Samantha Norton said.

"Some of them would have had their own problems, or been without power. It really makes you feel so grateful for the community spirit."

Simon Norton said the insurance company would assess the damage today. The couple bought the house about two years ago and while they were now staying with family, they needed to find a place to rent.

"We're not sure what's going to happen to our home," he said.

"We were due to renovate the place."

The Timaru Herald