Dad loses all in suspicious house fire

By Sophie Ryan

7 comments
A suspicious fire has claimed a beloved pet and everything a man owned in near Kaiwaka.
A suspicious fire has claimed a beloved pet and everything a man owned in near Kaiwaka.

A Northland man is devastated after losing everything he owns, including precious music equipment and his beloved dog, in a suspicious fire that destroyed his home near Kaiwaka.

An investigation into the blaze at Ian Sturt's home is under way and officials believe the fire was deliberately lit.

Firefighters from Maungaturoto and Kaiwaka could do nothing to save Mr Sturt's house that was engulfed in flames when they arrived on the scene about 10.30pm on Saturday.

Fire investigator Terry Baylis was at the property on Mountain Rd for most of yesterday.

He said the fire started in the lounge area and was suspicious.

Mr Sturt said the fire was, "the single most devastating event of my life".

He said he was out for the night and a friend called him to tell him his house was on fire.

"When I got back, there was nothing left," he said.

His dog was trapped in the house and died in the blaze.

Mr Baylis said the dog was found in the bathroom under some debris but the smoke would have killed the dog quickly.

Mr Baylis could not say how the fire started until receiving results from more tests.

He has passed on the investigation to the police.

"There's not much left, just a few studs standing," he said.

Mr Sturt is a computer repair specialist in Waipu as well as a singer and actor who has performed with the Otamatea Repertory Theatre for years.

Mr Sturt was renting the single-storey property and the contents were not insured.

He is staying with his daughter Antonia, who is hoping community spirit will help get her father back on his feet.

She has set up a bank account to accept donations for her father and is looking for donations of clothes.

The bank account number is 12-3094-0175103-50 and Antonia is asking people to use the reference IMSturt.

Alternatively, items can be sent to 669 Cove Rd, Waipu, Northland 0582.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area on Saturday night should contact Whangarei police Detective Wayne Pirret on 09 430 4500 or alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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