Arson suspected in Matapihi fire

The view of the Matapihi scrub fire from town last Tuesday. Photo: Chris Taylor.

A fire that tore through a homeless person's shelter at Matapihi near the railway tracks last week is believed to have been deliberately lit.

Fire and Emergency NZ fire safety officer John Rewi confirmed to SunLive today that the fire is being treated as suspicious.

Trains were stopped for more than two hours last Tuesday while firefighters dealt with the fire, which spread to scrub near the railway tracks.

Someone had set up several tents at the camp site, but there is no indication if there was anyone at ‘home' when the fire started, says John today.

All three tents burned.

Asked if it was deliberately lit John says: “It certainly looks like it. Fires just don't start on their own, and there was nobody else there. It would appear so.”



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Looking back from Mount main beach. Photo: Alan Forward.

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