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Hamilton fatal house fire release 5, cause of blaze

Hamilton fatal house fire release 5, cause of blaze

As the investigations into last week's fatal house fire at a Holland Rd address draw to a close, Waikato Police and the Fire Service say there are some valuable lessons that if heeded, could save other lives.

Detective Senior Sergeant Nigel Keall of the Waikato CIB said after 10 days, extensive enquiries with those associated with the scene by Police, and a scene examination by ESR, an electrical technician and the Fire Service, had been completed.

"Police have largely concluded their investigations into the death of 37-year-old Hamilton woman, Wai Tangi MATENGA, and the matter will be referred to the Coroner.

"The scene of the fatal fire was released back to the occupants today."

Highlighting the tragic nature of Ms MATENGA'S loss Waikato Fire Area Manager, Roy Breeze, said there were lessons to be taken from last week's fire that could be used to prevent future fatalities.

"Our investigations have come down to the blaze being the result of an electrical fault and without going into specifics we would like to warn people of the risks associated with overloading power points and junction boxes.

"At the same time people should check that the wiring of their appliances isn't damaged or frayed and routinely check your junction boxes or wires aren't covered by rugs, clothing or anything else that can allow heat to build up."

Mr Breeze said during the course of the joint investigation it became clear there were no functioning smoke alarms in the house, devices that can, and do, save lives.

"A blaze such as the one last week involved a very fast rate of fire spread leaving occupants very little time to react and save themselves as was the case here where people had to be evacuated via the windows.

"Last week's fire allowed for only a very small period of time for the rescue took of two small children. Had it not been for the actions of those involved in that rescue it is very likely that we would be reflecting on not just one, but three deaths."

Mr Keall and Mr Breeze said at this time both services would like to express their condolences to the family and friends of Ms MATENGA for their loss.


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