Heart disease was a significant contributing factor in the death of a Wairoa man whose house caught fire, a Coroner has found.

Emergency services were called to a "well-developed" fire at Shane Kaimoana's house on Kiwi Rd at 10.30pm on December 8 last year. The fire largely destroyed the house.

Coroner Tim Scott said it "probably started as a result of something that was cooking in a pot on the kitchen stove catching fire and thereby causing the house to catch fire".

He noted that Kaimoana became aware of the fire but was not certain how.


"He attempted to exit the front door, breathing in smoke as he did so. Sadly, he collapsed at the front door probably as a result of a medical event associated with his cardiac condition, coronary artery atherosclerosis.

"Had it not been for this condition and his collapse, it is probable that Shane would have exited the house in safety - as it was, he nearly did so."

Kaimoana oldest child, Damin Kaimoana, told police his father had suffered ill health and had been in hospital prior to the incident with a chest infection and breathing difficulties.

Fire risk management officer Bob Palmer found in his investigation, that Kaimoana was found on the front terrace of the house, "lying on his back with his head approximately on or near the doorway".

Palmer said Kaimoana's position at the front door suggested he might have been trying to escape the fire and collapsed in the location.

Coroner Scott offered his "sincere condolences and sympathy" to Kaimoana's family.