Two suspicious house fires in Invercargill

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 22:30 25/12/2013
Invercargill Firefighter
COLLETTE DEVLIN/Fairfax NZ

CLEAN UP BEGINS: Invercargill Firefighter starting the mop up after what is believed to be a suspicious fire in Crinan St house in the city.

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Invercargill Firefighters attended two suspicious house fires on Christmas Day.

An empty house on Crinan Street was completely destroyed when firefighters arrived at 8pm tonight.

Invercargill senior station officer Gordon Rodgers said no one was in the house or the nearby caravan at the time of the fire.

The owner had been contacted.

''It looked like the owner was renovating the house and living in the caravan next to it,'' he said.

The fire, in what was believed to be a bedroom, was well ablaze when firefighters arrived, he said.''The flames were coming out the window and up the side of the house.

''Fire investigators on their way to the scene. Fire Communications shift manager Brent Dunn said:''Police are involved and it was deemed suspicious straight away,'' he said.

Meanwhile, Christmas was ruined for an Invercargill resident who returned home to find her house on fire this.

The fire is being treated as suspicious by police and a fire investigator was also called to the scene.

Police and three fire appliances arrived to the house, on the corner of Tay and Ritchie streets, about 3pm.

A female occupant of the home was comforting two teenage girls crying on the street and trying to find their pets.

The woman said no one was at home when the fire started and she did not know what had happened.

Invercargill senior station officer Neil Ladbrook said firefighters initially went into the smoke-filled house searching for the occupants.

Firefighters found a fire in one of the rooms and thought perhaps it had spread into the roof and also looked into that aspect as a precaution, he said.

The cause of the fire had yet to be determined but police had been alerted and it was being treated as suspicious, Mr Ladbrook said.

Sergeant Wing-wah Ng, of Invercargill, said police were working with the family who were distraught.

Certain areas of the house were of interest  to detectives investigating last night.

They required help from the public, he said.

"Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area yesterday afternoon should call police.''

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