Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Further investigations to identify Christchurch fire victim

Police are still trying to identify a man killed in a flat fire in Christchurch this week. Photo/Wayne Drought
Police are still trying to identify a man killed in a flat fire in Christchurch this week. Photo/Wayne Drought

A post-mortem has been completed on the body of a man found in a self-contained Christchurch flat following a fire on Wednesday, but further forensic examination is needed to establish the man's identity, police say.

The man's body was in the flat at a property in Rutherford St, in the east Christchurch suburb of Woolston.

Police and fire remain at the scene and hope to have their examination completed by tomorrow.

Police asked anyone who witnessed the fire, which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday, or who has information or images to call Christchurch Central Police on (03) 363 7400.

Information can also be provided anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or online at

The man's death, along with that of another person in a Manawatu house fire on Monday, has prompted the Fire Service to remind people to make a plan for how they would escape a house fire, should the worst occur.

Fire Risk Management national advisor Todd O'Donoghue said the two deaths this week were a sobering reminder for everyone to be as fire safe as possible. The deaths brought the death toll from fires this year to eight.

"This means having working smoke alarms, and make an agreed escape plan. Most people don't realise that the early stages of a fire can generate enough deadly smoke to kill a person, yet it hardly makes a sound.

"That is why working smoke alarms are your only voice."

Escape plans also needed to include at least two ways out of every room in the event of fire, O'Donoghue said.

Conversations about fire safety needed to take place, he said.

"Sadly many people who live alone don't have these conversations. If you have family, friends or neighbours who live alone ask them talk to them about fire-safety and make sure they are looked after."

The fire service recommends the following:

Install long-life photoelectric smoke alarms. They have a built in battery that lasts up to ten years

Plan how to escape your house in a fire that includes at least two ways out of every room. This could mean getting through the security doors or escaping out a window that has security latches on it. It may mean breaking a window, laying bedding on it and climbing out

Have an agreed meeting place, such as a letterbox, where everyone in the household can meet

Never re-enter a burning building.

- NZ Herald

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