House burnt to ground 'suspicious'

By Peter de Graaf

A house has been destroyed in a suspected arson attack near Russell.

Emergency services were called just after noon yesterday but the single-storey wooden home on Paroa Bay Rd was burning end-to-end when the Russell Fire Brigade arrived.

The home had only been recently relocated onto the property and was still on blocks. It was not yet thought to be occupied or connected to power.

Although the razed house was modest, nearby Paroa Bay is home to some of the most exclusive real estate in the Bay of Islands.

Senior firefighter Ralph Mays said two fire crews from Russell prevented the flames spreading into nearby pines and extinguished the blaze, backed up by a crew from Paihia.

Firefighters spent more than two hours at the scene dampening down.

All that was left standing was one of the piles of blocks the house had been resting on.

Far North fire safety officer Gary Beer was yesterday afternoon picking through the remains in a bid to find out what had caused the fire.

Sergeant Peter Masters, of Paihia police, said he would await the fire investigator's findings before deciding whether the fire had been deliberately lit.

On the face of it, however, the fire appeared to be suspicious, especially as the power had not yet been connected.

St John Ambulance was also called out from Russell as a precaution until firefighters were certain no one had been inside when the fire started.

- Northern Advocate

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