Dannevirke fire: 'We've lost everything'

By Christine McKay

A Dannevirke family have been left with nothing after a suspicious fire destroyed their rural home on Saturday night.

But Owen Reynolds was just thankful his wife Kylie and their three children Peyton, 5, Lexie 2 and 5-month-old Declan, weren't at home when the inferno reduced their home to ashes and a pile of twisted iron.

"Thank Christ no one was home. We've lost everything," Mr Reynolds said. "We managed to save the dog and the cats and that was it."

The family had lived in the two-storey wooden home on Top Grass Rd for almost four years. Kylie Reynolds was at a work function in town while her husband and children were with her family when the alarm was raised just after 9pm.

Two engines and a water tanker from the Dannevirke Volunteer Fire Brigade, along with a Norsewood fire crew were called, but the home was "on the ground" by the time they arrived at the scene, Dannevirke fire chief Pete Sinclair said.

"The whole thing had collapsed in on itself, but we were on the scene for three hours," he said.

The Dannevirke brigade was called to the property again at 7.30am yesterday when a shed burst into flames again, probably fanned by wind, Mr Sinclair said.

Mr Reynolds said he and his family were taking the events of Saturday night hard.

"My wife was distraught when told what had happened, but I don't think the shock has really kicked in for me yet, but it will," he said.

While Dannevirke CIB and the Fire Service investigation officer, Mike Finucane, were searching for clues to the cause of the fire on Sunday morning, Mr Reynolds was trying to come to terms with what had happened.

"I know there had been nothing left on which was likely to have caused this, because we hadn't been home all day. But we had been back and forwards briefly," he said.

A Dannevirke Police spokesperson said the fire was being treated as suspicious, until a cause was known.

Mr Reynolds said he didn't know of anyone who would want to destroy his home.

"We haven't annoyed anyone and I'm buggered if I know what to think, I'm just despairing at what has happened," he said.

The couple were insured.

In May 2009 a farm cottage across the road from the Reynolds' home, owned by a neighbouring dairy farmer, was also badly damaged by fire.

Dannevirke deputy chief officer Peter Feierabend said that though the blaze was being investigated, but the extensive damage to the home would make the case more difficult.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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