Rotorua firefighters tackle 'suspicious' blaze

By Katie Holland

A derelict Rotorua house has been badly damaged by fire in what firefighters say appear to be suspicious circumstances.

Rotorua Fire Service senior station officer Colin Rolfe said they were called to the wooden house on Bennetts Rd, Koutu at about 5.55pm Friday.

He said the front one of two units in the house was well alight and took two fire appliances about 15 minutes to get under control.

Mr Rolfe said the house had been unoccupied for about eight years.

"It's obviously suspicious as there was no power supply," he said.

"Someone had been playing games in there."

He said fire safety officers and police would investigate.

The street was blocked for at least two hours while firefighters dampened down the building.

A neighbour said she was having her tea when she noticed the fire out her window.

"I saw a big billow of smoke. By the time I walked down someone else had called the fire brigade," she said.

"If the wind was blowing the other way we would have flames [at her house]."

Another neighbour said she was on her way home when she saw smoke and flames coming from her street.

"I thought it was my house," she said.

Residents of the street, who did not want to be named, said they had been concerned for some time about the state of the house, which is surrounded by overgrown grass.

"We would rather they had just let it burn to the ground," said one.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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