Arson suspect arrested
South Taranaki police have charged a man with arson following a house fire near Auroa yesterday.
Senior Sergeant Blair Burnett said a 33-year-old male will appear in the Hawera District Court on August 6.
Police and fire safety officers are investigating the blaze which started at about 10.40am in Auroa Rd.
Brigades from Hawera, Manaia, Kaponga, Opunake, Okaiawa and a New Plymouth command unit were called to the fire.
Manaia fire chief Shane Taylor said the farmhouse was "fully involved" by the time they arrived.
"There were flames coming out of the roof, so I would say it had been going for quite some time," he said.
"It was just about collapsing when we got here."
Two occupants were not in the house at the time of the fire.
The Daily News understands the owners live in Australia.
Mr Taylor said the fire was brought under control in about 30 minutes and they remained at the scene to dampen down hot spots before the fire investigators moved in.
Neighbour Giana Young told the Daily News that the fire moved quickly through the house.
"I looked out the window because the dogs were barking.
"There was this lady running around and then I saw the smoke."
Miss Young, 14, said that by the time she got back from ringing the emergency services the fire had started to engulf the house.
She said the home was "gone" by the time firefighters arrived.
"They were just too late."
Taranaki Daily News