Kaitangata house fire treated as suspicious

23:42, Jul 29 2013

A fire that destroyed a Kaitangata house yesterday is being treated as suspicious.

Fire crews from Kaitangata and Balclutha were called to the blaze just after 10am.

Kaitangata volunteer fire brigade chief fire officer Kevin Sutton said when the first crew arrived the house in Start St was well ablaze. While it was still standing, the old wooden single-storey house was badly damaged, he said.

"It didn't take long for the fire to get a hold and get well into it. Most of the rooms were on fire when the first team arrived at the scene."

Firefighters were at the scene for nearly two hours.

There were no injuries and it was not believed anyone was in the house at the time of the fire, Mr Sutton said.

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Southern Region fire safety officer Stuart Ide said the fire was being treated as suspicious and the investigation had been handed over to police.

Neighbour Rachel Harrison said her son had spotted the smoke and her daughter called the fire brigade, before calling her to come home.

When she arrived the house was in flames, she said.

"It was just up in flames . . . there was a lot of flames and a lot of smoke," she said.

She believed the tenant had moved out several weeks earlier.

Kaitangata has a long history of suspicious fires.

In 2010 the town was rocked by a spate of arson attacks which destroyed several buildings.

The Southland Times