High tech finds rouse fire suspicion

By Peter de Graaf

Inquiries are continuing into a suspicious fire which destroyed a home on Russell's Paroa Bay Rd.

The single-storey home had only recently been shifted on to the property and was still on blocks when the fire started about noon on Friday.

Two fire crews from Russell and one from Paihia extinguished the blaze but the house was reduced to ashes.

Far North fire-safety officer Gary Beer said it had not been possible to establish the cause, due to the degree of destruction, but it was suspicious. Police were carrying out more inquiries.

A high-tech sniffing device called a photo-ionisation detector had revealed traces of hydrocarbons in an "area of interest", and these had been sent away for laboratory analysis.

Those tests would reveal whether an accelerant had been used to start the fire, he said.

The house was not connected to the power supply and no one was thought to be living in it when the fire started.

While the house was modest, nearby Paroa Bay is home to some of the most expensive real estate in the Bay of Islands.

- Northern Advocate

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