Ten Housing New Zealand properties were damaged by out-of-control fires in Rotorua between late February and early November last year.

Reports and emails about the fires, released to the Rotorua Daily Post under the Official Information Act (OIA), show two of the 10 blazes were at the same Fordlands property.

According the Rotorua Lakes Council's spatial plan, Housing New Zealand has 500 properties in the district.

In a letter attached to the OIA documents, Housing New Zealand government relations manager Rachel Kelly said all of the tenanted properties involved in the 10 Rotorua fires had working smoke alarms.

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"Housing New Zealand has had smoke alarms in all properties since 1999 and last year (2017) we completed an upgrade of the smoke alarms in all of our 64,000 properties."

She said 275,000 nine-volt alarms were replaced with "newer, longer lasting units".

The first of the 10 Rotorua fires was on February 23 in Fordlands at a vacant property, believed to be meth contaminated.

It started just before 1.30am and covered the steel garage, garden shed and back porch around the outside of the two-storey, six-bedroom house.

The Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) incident report said a witness heard a loud noise, "then looked out the window and saw fire and shadows running away".

Investigators later deemed the fire arson.

Contractors found loose asbestos in the house, and in May, Housing New Zealand decided to demolish it.

Just four days after the Fordlands fire, the kitchen and ceiling of a three-bedroom home in Pukehangi caught fire when a pot of oil was left unattended on a kitchen stove.

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FENZ's incident report found that smoke alarms woke up the occupants at 4.30am on February 27.

Ambulance staff examined the tenant and children but they did not need hospital treatment.

Asbestos was later detected and removed so the house could be refurbished.

At 6pm that same day, a four-bedroom home caught fire in Glenholme.

The Clinkard Ave property was vacant because of suspected meth contamination.

Callers told FENZ the fire was "going for it" before crews arrived.

The remains of the house in Clinkard Ave, Glenholme, that was deliberately lit on fire in February. Photo / File
The remains of the house in Clinkard Ave, Glenholme, that was deliberately lit on fire in February. Photo / File

The whole house was damaged and had to be demolished after asbestos removal contractors decontaminated the site.

Investigations by FENZ found that the fire was the result of arson and was started on a couch.

Investigators at a house in Clinkard Ave, Glenholme, that was deliberately lit on fire. Photo / File
Investigators at a house in Clinkard Ave, Glenholme, that was deliberately lit on fire. Photo / File

Witnesses said two people ran from the property as the blaze began.

Rotorua police later dealt with an offender linked to the fire, through Youth Aid.

A house in Clinkard Ave, Glenholme, that was deliberately lit on fire in February. Photo / File
A house in Clinkard Ave, Glenholme, that was deliberately lit on fire in February. Photo / File

Another Housing New Zealand property in Fordlands was damaged when a washing machine caught fire on April 23.

The fire started just before 11am in the laundry of a two-storey, three-bedroom flat.

The Housing New Zealand documents said smoke alarms in a neighbouring room alerted a tenant, who was "very shaken".

The FENZ investigation concluded that a short circuit electrical fault was to blame.

The next day, on April 24, FENZ was called to a fire at another Fordlands Housing New Zealand property.

At 10pm, a smoke alarm woke up the person inside and they got out of the three-bedroom house safely.

The FENZ incident report said the fire was contained to the bedroom and ceiling but "there was extensive smoke and heat damage throughout the house".

It found that a couch was most likely ignited by a candle or cigarette butt.

Fordlands house damaged by fire on April 24. Image / Supplied
Fordlands house damaged by fire on April 24. Image / Supplied

Two weeks later, the same property was damaged by fire again, on May 8.

This time the house was vacant.

FENZ were called at 9.30pm and arrived to find the garden shed "totally involved".

The blaze destroyed the shed, but there was no clear cause.

The next month, on May 22, a house in Rimu St, Glenholme was gutted by a blaze.

The scene of the house fire in Rimu St tonight.

Housing New Zealand email strings described the house as "pretty messed up" by the fire.

The whole home was damaged.

Fire on Rimu St.

Posted by Rotorua Daily Post on Monday, 21 May 2018

Asbestos was found and removed from the flooring and the exterior of the house and neighbouring properties had to be checked for "exploded loose material".

Firefighters at the Rimu St house gutted by fire on May 22. Photo / File
Firefighters at the Rimu St house gutted by fire on May 22. Photo / File

The subsequent FENZ incident report stated unattended hot chips under the oven grill started the fire.

It was already burning the curtains and above the rangehood when the occupants saw the flames, and got out safely.

Damage at the Rimu St house gutted by fire on May 22. Photo / File
Damage at the Rimu St house gutted by fire on May 22. Photo / File

Then on September 14, a Housing New Zealand property in Miller St, Glenholme caught fire just before 3am.

Documents released under the OIA stated a tenant's friend was sleeping in the lounge and was hospitalised with leg burns after their blanket caught fire.

House damaged by fire in Miller St, Glenholme. Photo / File
House damaged by fire in Miller St, Glenholme. Photo / File

The fire left extensive damage throughout the property from fire and water, and all possessions were lost.

One person sleeping inside told Housing New Zealand "there were flames everywhere" in the lounge when they woke to the smoke alarm.

Fire damage at Housing New Zealand house in Miller St, Glenholme. Photo / File
Fire damage at Housing New Zealand house in Miller St, Glenholme. Photo / File

The FENZ incident report concluded that the fire started in bedding next to a wall heater.

Another Housing New Zealand property in Rotorua was damaged on October 28, when a ponga tree was lit on fire.

The house was also broken into, and the government department concluded the intruder was most likely responsible for lighting fire.

Lastly, at around 12.45pm on November 5, a fire started in the porch of a three-bedroom home on Malfroy Rd, Victoria.

One person inside escaped uninjured, but the property was left with fire damage to the porch, fencing, and lounge and smoke damage throughout the house.

Fire damage at Housing New Zealand property on Malfroy Rd in November. Photo / File
Fire damage at Housing New Zealand property on Malfroy Rd in November. Photo / File

Contractors found asbestos scattered across the property and over one boundary.

FENZ could not determine the cause of the fire, but stated there was "some evidence of smoking around the area of origin".

Firefighters at Housing New Zealand property on Malfroy Rd in November. Photo / File
Firefighters at Housing New Zealand property on Malfroy Rd in November. Photo / File

Its incident report said the person inside the house was watching TV when they noticed smoke coming through the windows and called 111.