Car fire accidentally started by toddler

By Kieran Campbell

Two children were saved from almost certain death in the burning car. Photo / Gisborne Herald
Two children were saved from almost certain death in the burning car. Photo / Gisborne Herald

The fire that engulfed a car with two young children inside while their mother was shopping was accidentally started by a 3-year-old girl who set fire to the driver's seat using a barbecue lighter, police say.

The siblings - the 3-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother - suffered burns to 40 per cent of their bodies and were rushed to hospital in a critical condition following the fire in a Gisborne carpark on April 4.

Police said today that no decision had been made about whether any criminal charges would be laid in relation to the fire.

An investigation by the Fire Service found the blaze was accidentally started by the girl who "found a barbecue-style lighter in the car's console and accidentally set the driver's seat on fire".

The children, Manaia and Rious Namana-Rowe, both remain in a fair condition at Middlemore Hospital today, a spokeswoman said.

Rious has been moved to the Kidz First ward.

- APNZ

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