Woman dies in house fire

By Alecia Rousseau -

A woman has died after a fatal house fire in Feilding.

Emergency services received a call at about 8pm last night to a Fitzroy Street address.

Fire Service assistant area commander Manawatu Rodger Calder said the Feilding brigade responded but as they were arriving to gear up, the fire could be seen from the station.

They immediately requested additional resources and on arrival, found a large three bedroom villa fully engulfed.

"The crew was then advised there may be someone inside so they immediately tried to enter the property and conduct a search," Mr Calder said. "But the extent and intensity of the fire pushed them back."

He said fire fighters then began attacking the fire from outside the home.

"Once it was almost extinguished the crews then conducted a search inside and have found one person."

The cause of the fire was yet to be determined and Mr Calder said they were not sure whether the home had any smoke alarms.

"As of yet we have found no evidence of them but they might have been there. A good message is to remind people to you need working smoke alarms and you need to listen to them."

He also said people should get to know their neighbours as it may help in times of emergencies.

"Too many become recluse...it's important people try and get to know who is living next door."

He recommended purchasing photoelectric smoke alarms that have a 10-year battery life.

"We recommend having a smoke alarm in every room, except those with water. If you have young children you need to also put one in their room."

A couple who lives less than 100 metres away said they did not hear anything until it was too late.

"I was outside having a smoke on the doorstep at the time," said one of the women. "I didn't see anything until I saw fire engines coming and we walked out to have a look."

She said she did not know the woman but said she thought there was a dog also living at the property.

Her daughter said the woman worked at a Palmerston North high school.

Mr Calder said police and fire crews would remain at the property today to investigate the cause.

"The road will also remain closed for most of the day but we are letting residents come and go."

He was unsure when the victim's name would be released.

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