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Everything lost in fire

A WOMAN in a house at Waituhi, near Patutahi, escaped injury this morning but with nothing but the clothes she was wearing as fire ripped through her home on Lavenham Road and almost totally destroyed it.

A car parked at the front of the property was also lost to the fire.

The fire service received the first 111 calls about the blaze at around 6.40am.

Fire crews from the Patutahi and Te Karaka volunteer brigades responded, along with Gisborne fire crews.

“The house was well involved in fire when we got there,” said Patutahi senior station officer Peter Hair, whose crew was first to arrive.

“We ascertained the woman in the home had got out OK but we could not do any more than make an external attack on the fire.

“There were flames coming out of the front windows as we pulled up.”

SSO Hair said it took about 20 minutes to knock the blaze back, then took another hour to dampen down the remains.

“The house has been left basically a shell. It has been almost totally destroyed.”

SSO Hair said the fire appeared to have started somehow in the lounge area of the weatherboard home.

The woman living there lost everything she owned in the blaze.

“I am sure the local community will rally around to support her,” he said.

Specialist fire investigator Derek Goodwin has been at the scene this morning conducting an inquiry to try to assertain how the fire started.

“Damage to the lounge area was severe and it will take some to say how the fire started.”

The family told The Herald the woman in the house managed to get out with nothing but the clothes on her back.

“She was not even wearing shoes. The flames were way up but the main thing is no one was hurt,” the brother of the woman said.

GUTTED: The remains of a home and car at Waituhi, inland from Patutahi, where a woman escaped a morning blaze with just the clothes she was wearing. Picture by Paul Rickard
Firefighters in breathing apparatus working on the fire. Picture supplied