Petrol used to set house on fire

By Samantha McPherson of The Star

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

An arson attack on the home of a painter and decorator could have been fatal, police say.

A 10m line of petrol was poured on a path from the garage of a Yaldhurst Rd property, around the side of the house and on the front door, before it was lit about 1am on Sunday.

The sole occupant of the house, who is still "shaken" after the ordeal, told The Star yesterday he woke up to the smell of smoke.

"I woke up straight away. I went into the empty bedroom near the front door and noticed the door was on fire. I called the fire brigade," he said.

Detective Phil McDonnell said it is likely the property was deliberately targeted. But he refused to say why.

The householder also refused to say why his house had been targeted.

"I've left it in the hands of the other people (police)," he said.

Detective McDonnell said it was fortunate the fire only caused minor damage to the front of the property.

It could have been fatal, he said.

Fire safety officer Graeme Reid said the man extinguished the fire with a garden hose before firefighters arrived.

"The front door was scorched which was the main damage and only part of the petrol trail had ignited. It wasn't a large fire but it could've been worse if he didn't wake up. An incident like this (where an accelerant is used) isn't unheard of. There were four smoke alarms inside the house which didn't work."

Detective McConnell refused to answer specific questions from The Star.

- CHRISTCHURCH STAR

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