Hamilton fatal house fire accidental

Last updated 18:04 31/08/2012
Wai Tangi Matenga
Wai Tangi Matenga

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An electrical fault was the cause of a house fire which claimed the life of a Hamilton woman earlier this month.

Wai Tangi Matenga, 37, died as a result of the fire on Holland Rd about 4.50am on August 21.

Waikato police Detective Senior Sergeant Nigel Keall of the Waikato CIB said after 10 days, extensive enquiries with those associated with the scene by Police, and a scene examination by ESR, an electrical technician and the Fire Service, had been completed.

Waikato Fire Area Manager Roy Breeze said the cause of the blaze of was electrical and issued warnings to people about overloading multi boxes.

"Our investigations have come down to the blaze being the result of an electrical fault and without going into specifics we would like to warn people of the risks associated with overloading power points and junction boxes.

"At the same time people should check that the wiring of their appliances isn't damaged or frayed and routinely check your junction boxes or wires aren't covered by rugs, clothing or anything else that can allow heat to build up."

Mr Breeze said during the course of the joint investigation it became clear there were no functioning smoke alarms in the house, devices that can, and do, save lives.

"A blaze such as the one last week involved a very fast rate of fire spread leaving occupants very little time to react and save themselves as was the case here where people had to be evacuated via the windows.

"Last week's fire allowed for only a very small period of time for the rescue took of two small children. Had it not been for the actions of those involved in that rescue it is very likely that we would be reflecting on not just one, but three deaths."

Mr Keall said police have now largely concluded their investigation and Ms Matenga's death had been referred to the Coroner.

The scene of the fatal fire was released back to the occupants today, he said.

Mr Keall and Mr Breeze expressed their condolonces to the family on behalf of both services.

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- Waikato Times

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