The Glasgow St house after the fire in September. Photo by
A fire that destroyed an unoccupied Queenstown property
in September, initially treated as suspicious, was started by
an electric cooker - which had been left on for about two
Southern Region fire safety officer Stuart Ide told the
Otago Daily Times the cooker, understood to be
relatively new, was portable and about half the size of an
A neighbour of the Glasgow St property notified the Fire
Service at 5.50am on September 17 after being woken by the
sound of the fire, which caused the top floor of the
two-storeyed home to explode.
Mr Ide said the exterior of the upper floor of the home,
containing the kitchen and living area, was made from Polite
''Once it gets heated, it explodes and goes off like rifle
shots,'' Mr Ide said.
Through his investigation, Mr Ide discovered the cooker had
been left on a low setting for about eight weeks.
He was unable to ascertain what had caught fire, but it was
possible the cooker eventually overheated.
''The thermostat is clicking on and off all the time. It's
possible that overheated itself, then the element would just
go on fire.''
Mr Ide said he ''fully believed'' the cooker was left on
accidentally and it was possible it was knocked while the
area was being cleaned.