A homeowner has “lost everything” after a house in the middle of renovations caught fire in the Karangahake Gorge overnight.
The single storey 100sqm house on Waitekauri Road in Waikino caught alight around 1.30am on Tuesday.
It is believed there were no working fire alarms inside the property, says fire investigator Nicole Dobson.
“The house was getting renovated at the time, so [fire alarms] hadn’t been put back up yet, but they got out of the house fine, so that’s the main thing. But unfortunately they have lost everything.”
Nicole says the homeowner had been working on the house for a couple of years and was understandably devastated.
“As far as I’m aware, they are staying with family, and unfortunately they had no insurance either, so they are having to start from scratch.
“Fire alarms are an early warning to get out of the house. Thankfully they were awake at the time, putting paints and stuff away, because to be honest, if they were asleep, they might not have made it out.”
A towel hung on a railing too close to an electric heater sparked the blaze, she says.
Nicole reminded everyone of the importance of smoke alarms, insurance and keeping items “a metre from the heater”.
“Heaters, electric blankets and fire places are the big things we push in the winter – they are something to be very wary of.”
Two fire trucks and a tanker attended the blaze, getting the fire under control and dampening down any flare-ups by 3am. The last crews left the scene at 4am.
Nicole says the fire was accidental, but the cause was still under investigation.