Resident calls to scrap house after Mt Roskill fire killed Linda Edwards

A fatal fire tore through this unit Rainford Street, Mt Roskill earlier in the week, killing the occupant. Photo/Nick Reed.
A fatal fire tore through this unit Rainford Street, Mt Roskill earlier in the week, killing the occupant. Photo/Nick Reed.

A resident is calling for the state house where a woman died after it suspiciously caught fire to be demolished.

Linda Winifred Edwards, 58, died in the Mt Roskill blaze on November 8. Her unit was in a block of four Housing New Zealand residences.

A 25-year-old man was charged with arson and using a document. He was known to the victim and will reappear in Auckland District Court on tomorrow. The neighbour, who didn't want to be named, said the suspicious death could freak out future residents and it wouldn't be fair to transfer that emotional baggage to them.

She had been unable to sleep thinking about the horrible situation and had emailed Housing NZ asking it to demolish the flat.

Peter Truong was first on the scene of the fatal fire. Photo/Nick Reed.
Peter Truong was first on the scene of the fatal fire. Photo/Nick Reed.


"If someone died of natural circumstances, that's different.

"We're so emotional about it because she did not deserve this.

"I hope they will demolish it."

The neighbour said Edwards was giving, kind and did voluntary work.

"There was one thing I loved about that woman. I love my black-eyed little ducks and she had a water bowl for the little guys to come have a drink. That spoke volumes."

Edwards was in the news earlier this year when she collected second-hand bras to donate to female prisoners at Auckland Region Women's Corrections Facility in Wiri. She got the idea after she spoke to an ex-inmate who explained prisoners only get what they have on already.

"She told me that when you do get given [bras] then it's normal for someone to steal them," Edwards had said.

Neighbour Peter Truong, 52, was one of the first on the scene of the fire. He heard a "boom!" while he was on his computer and rushed outside. He saw the fire was already coming out of the window of Edwards' unit. With the fire alarm blaring he tried to open the front door but it was stuck.

"We were very worried."

Then the fire service took over, but it was too late for Edwards.

Fire Service northern communications manager Carren Larking said there were multiple calls to the Rainsford St property but by the time they arrived the rear flat was engulfed in fire.

Police said a body was found inside the address.

Truong described the complex as friendly but said people didn't know each other very well. He always shared a smile and a wave with Edwards when they crossed paths but he never knew the details of her life.

He fondly remembered her helping him with his gardening or when he had to jump-start his car.

A post-mortem had been carried out, but investigations were ongoing and further testing was needed to determine how Edwards died, police said.

Housing NZ have been contacted for comment.

- NZ Herald

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