A property on Glasgow St, Queenstown, of which the top
floor was destroyed by fire just before 6am on Saturday.
Police are appealing for witnesses to the fire and, at this
stage, are viewing it as potential arson. Photo by Tracey
Queenstown police are appealing for witnesses to a fire
they are treating as "potentially suspicious" which destroyed
the upper storey of an unoccupied Glasgow St property early on
Detective Sergeant Brian Cameron, of Queenstown, said a
neighbour was woken by noise from the fire at 5.50am and
alerted emergency services.
Crews from Queenstown and Frankton arrived within a few
minutes to fight the fire, which was "fully engaged", Det Sgt
Southern Region Fire Safety Officer Stuart Ide told the Otago
Daily Times at this stage no cause had been established.
"We're still following some lines of inquiry regarding
electricity [and] police are following their leads."
Mr Ide said the material used on the exterior of the house
was "Polite board", which was understood to have an asbestos
Queenstown Lakes District Council contractors were at the
address on Saturday afternoon removing fire debris from the
street and neighbouring properties to within the cordon of
the affected property.
"As long as it's wet it's stable ... they're picking it up as
quickly as they can."
Det Sgt Cameron said a joint investigation by the fire
service and police had begun and, given the property appeared
to have been unoccupied for some time, the fire was being
viewed as potentially suspicious.
Examiners from both the fire service and police spent
Saturday morning at the address, while other officers went
door to door seeking witnesses.
He said police had yet to speak to the overseas owner of the
property who lived in a "remote location", although they had
made contact with a family member.
Anyone who saw or heard anything before the fire service was
called at 5.50am on Saturday was asked to contact police on