CYF called after suspected P lab fire

STEVE HOPKINS
Last updated 13:08 04/12/2012

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A child has been taken from its mother after an Auckland house fire believed to have been triggered by a P lab explosion.

Firefighters were called to a Housing New Zealand property in Chantal Pl, Papakura, about midday yesterday and found a house and garage well ablaze.

A police spokeswoman said items found in the garage suggested a methamphetamine lab was in operation.  

She said the materials may have contributed to the fire, however the exact cause of the fire is still being determined.

"There may have been an explosion," she said.  

Police have charged two women at the property with allowing the premises to be used to make methamphetamine. 

They were due to appear in the Papakura District Court today.

Child, Youth and Family northern regional director Sharon Thom said the child, believed to be two years old, was removed from the mother's care and was now being looked after by family members.

Thom said the people living at the property were not previously known to CYF and they were "satisfied" the child was safe.

"We will continue to offer the family the support they need to ensure this child remains safe," Thom said. 

A man and a woman left the house before emergency services arrived, the spokeswoman said, and are being sought by police. 

The spokeswoman said their identities were unknown.

Police had so far checked nearby accident and emergency departments and hospitals for recent burns victims, but the pair had not been found.  

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