Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Help sought to catch suspected arsonist

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A fire that nearly claimed an elderly Napier woman's life this week is being treated as suspicious and Hawke's Bay Police are appealing to the public for information.

Shortly after midnight on Monday morning, fire broke out at the woman's home on Nelson Cres, Napier. She had to be rescued by neighbours, and was removed only moments before the room she was sleeping in went up in flames.

Napier Police CIB Detective Constable David Ley said an investigation suggested the fire was deliberately lit.

"The fire appears to have started on a large palm tree planted close to the front of the property," he said. "Fire quickly spread to the house causing extensive fire and smoke damage to the front half of the house.

"The elderly female occupant was rescued from the house by neighbours before the bedroom in which she had been sleeping was extensively burnt - she was lucky to escape from it alive."

Police would like to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious around the time of the incident.

If you have any information, contact Detective Constable Dave Ley on 06 831 0806 or Crimestoppers.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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