War veteran who died in fire survived Bay quake

By Phillipa Webb, Gisborne Herald

A farmer and war veteran killed in a house fire near Gisborne last week was a quiet achiever and well-known member of the Te Karaka community.

Ronald Russell Allison was alone in his Whatatutu Rd home when it caught fire on Friday.

Detective Sergeant Steve Smith, of the Gisborne, CIB said a post-mortem examination had been completed but final results would not be available for some time.

The 88-year-old is survived by two children and two grandchildren.

Son John Allison said his father was a great man and proud farmer who supported the community.

He served in the Army in World War II and fought in Italy, Greece and Japan. He also survived the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.

Mr Allison married his late wife Marie in 1953, and worked on the family farm most of his life.

Te Karaka chief fire officer Jamie Simpson said Mr Allison was an unassuming man who was well-known in the small community.

Mr Smith said police and fire-safety investigators were determining the cause of the blaze.

"Because of the extreme damage caused by the fire, we have a lot of work to do to establish a cause," he said.

"It is important that we ascertain if the cause is suspicious or not, and at this stage we have an open mind on that."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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