The ignition source of the fire which gutted an Ophir house
late on Tuesday night this week has been determined as an
Southern region fire investigator Barry Gibson said the
wiring fault had occurred in the back of a power board and
the fire had spread through the roof into the house.
He said the fire could have been slow-burning for an hour or
two in its early stages but when it "broke out" it would have
taken hold quickly.
"It [the house] had soft board ceilings and an aluminium roof
which meant that it collapsed very quickly, which gave plenty
of oxygen for the fire to take off."
He said the concerning aspect was that a fire of that type
could happen to any house at any time.
"We have a lot of electrical fires and it is of concern that
people are not aware that electrical systems in their homes
need to be checked from time to time [about every five
"It's not reflection on these people [house owner Sam Leask
and tenant Ken Lake] but this is a good wake-up call for
Mr Leask, also the area chief fire officer, grew up in the
house and it was still on his family farm.
Mr Lake lost all his possessions except the clothes he was
wearing, but has family in the area with whom he is staying.
Both the house and Mr Lake's possessions were insured.