Arson blamed in Chch house fire
Sun, 08 Jul 2012 6:03p.m.
By Annabelle Tukia
Another abandoned home in Christchurch's red-zone has been the target of arsonists.
The Avonside Drive home was well ablaze when the Fire Service turned up, and they say there are growing fears that someone's going to be hurt or killed.
A rude awakening for residents still living in Christchurch’s red-zone, the Cera-owned house was razed to the ground just before dawn.
Graeme Spinks lives two houses down. He was coming back from the airport when he spotted the blaze and captured it on his iPhone.
“When I was way around the road, I saw the smoke and flames up above the houses and I was just hoping it wasn't our house,” says the Avonside resident.
He says a lack of water pressure in the area because of the damage to infrastructure meant he could only watch helplessly until three fire trucks and a water tanker turned up.
District Fire Commander Dave Burford says there's no doubt the blaze was deliberately lit.
“There was no electricity on to it,” he says. “It is a Cera house, it is derelict and it was going pretty good when we arrived, so we put two and two together and guessed and we have had that confirmed.”
He says it joins a growing list of arson-damaged properties in the quake-hit eastern suburbs.
“We're very worried about arsons that are happening in this area because we are concerned as fire officers that there might be someone living in there illegally,” says Mr Burford. “So we've got to take all those sort of precautions when we pull up.”
Graeme Spinks says it still a few months before he can move out of the red-zone. He's angry the fire was arson.
“It’s hard enough to see your neighbourhood go under, with houses being demolished, but it’s kind of like rubbing salt into the wounds of the area.”
Mr Spinks says he would like to install smoke alarms in the neighbouring abandoned houses to save other properties going up in smoke.
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