Worried neighbours fled early this morning as a vacant house next door erupted in an inferno only metres away from their own house.

The Fire Service is treating the Ranfurly St fire as suspicious, and fire safety officers were today sifting through the ruins to try to establish how the fire started.

A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said her daughter woke her about 3am to say the house next door was on fire.

She immediately called emergency services and then gathered up her two children and evacuated, concerned the flames were uncomfortably close and threatening their own home.

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"The flames were lapping my boundary fence, which is close to my laundry," she said.

The neighbour said the Runanga Volunteer Fire Brigade did a "brilliant" job and she was very grateful for how quickly they got the blaze under control, and saved her house from also going up in flames.

"We sat at the top of our driveway and waited until it was safe to go back," the neighbour said.

The Fire Service is treating the Ranfurly St fire as suspicious, and fire safety officers were today sifting through the ruins to try to establish how the fire started. Photo / Greymouth Star
The Fire Service is treating the Ranfurly St fire as suspicious, and fire safety officers were today sifting through the ruins to try to establish how the fire started. Photo / Greymouth Star

Runanga fire chief Gavin Gibbens said extra fire appliances from Blackball and Greymouth were called in to help contain the fire.

"We spent just over two hours at the site getting the fire under control," Gibbens said.

It was being treated as suspicious because there were "numerous ignition points" both at the front and rear of the property, and had obviously not started in just one area.

Firefighters wore breathing apparatus as they controlled the flames.

West Coast police prevention sergeant Andrew Lyes said police were called about 3.30am.

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"The property was abandoned and it is being investigated (as suspicious) until proven otherwise," Lyes said.


- Greymouth Star