Kaiapoi house destroyed by fire
Firefighters remain at a red-zoned Kaiaipoi house this morning after spending more than five hours putting out a suspicious fire overnight.
The fire was reported in Hilton St at 5.35pm yesterday, with firefighters from Kaiaipoi spending just over an hour putting it out.
They were called back to the house just before 8pm and took more than four hours to put the blaze out for a second time.
Kaiapoi senior station officer Tristan Roberts said the second fire was "fully involved" and threatened neighbouring properties.
Firefighters from Kaiapoi and Christchurch brought the blaze under control.
The house was significantly damaged, but neighbouring homes that were still occupied were saved, Roberts said.
Kaiapoi resident Emily Tubb said she could see the flames reflected in the sky above her Fuller St house.
"It seemed like half the town was out on the street. I went for a drive to have a look and people were generally standing pretty far back," she said.
"There were firefighters everywhere and it just seemed to go on for hours."
Hilton St resident Adrian Cooper, 84, who lives across the road from the scene, said the first he knew about the fire was when he heard sirens.
He went to the window and saw "flames coming up like crazy".
He thought the fire had been put out when he went for dinner with his sister, but returned to find "flames were leaping up" out of the house again.
"It was an extraordinary sight," Cooper said. "It was nasty."
He was worried the flames might jump the road and threaten his home, but that never happened. Firefighters used chainsaws to cut trees so the fire did not spread.
Another resident said youths were found in a red-zoned house at the weekend.
Her husband kicked them out. They could be responsible for the fire, she said.
Roberts said the Fire Service and police were investigating the cause of the fire, which was being treated as suspicious.
"These types of fires not only have the potential to threaten neighbouring property but there is also significant risk to residents and firefighters, whose lives are unnecessarily placed at risk."
He asked Kaiapoi residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to police, or dial 111, if they saw a fire.
- © Fairfax NZ News