Titahi Bay house fire: Neighbour heard screams

By Nikki Papatsoumas

Neighbours tried to save a man who was trapped inside his burning home in Titahi Bay this morning, but were driven back by thick smoke and flames.

The Fire Service was called to Dimock St house just before 1am after a neighbour heard glass breaking and shouting from inside the address.

The house was fully engulfed in fire when fire fighters arrived, and police said the fire service found a body inside while putting out the blaze.

Kayla Kirby said she was watching a movie when she heard a loud bang about 12.30am.

She said she initially thought her mother-in-law had fallen out of bed and immediately went to check on her.

"That's when I saw orange light coming from the back yard.

"I saw the flames coming out of the neighbour's house, there was a whole lot of fire."

Ms Kirby said she ran next door, where she could hear screaming and yelling from the house.

The windows and doors had already blown out from the fire.

Ms Kirby said she tried to find out where the man was so she could help him.

"The smoke just got the better of me."

She was later taken to hospital where she was treated for smoke inhalation.

Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said the house was "gushing in flames" by the time he realised what had happened.

He said although he did not hear any noises coming from inside the burning house, he also tried to find a way inside, but by then the fire was too dangerous.

"I was trying to find a way into the house, and trying to listen if someone was yelling out for help, but no-one was yelling out.

"I am so shocked."

The property was secured for a forensic examination this morning.

Detective Senior Sergeant John Vandenheuvel said they had formally identified the body, and had removed the deceased from the scene late this afternoon.

However he said they were not able to release any details about the man until they had consulted with the next of kin.

He said he could not comment on the cause of the fire, but a post mortem would be conducted later today or tomorrow, which would hopefully offer some clues.

"We have had scientists, fire safety officers and detectives at the scene all day to try and establish what the cause of this fire was."

- APNZ

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