Cottage burns down while owners away

Jeff Burrow
Jeff Burrow
A Waitati cottage was destroyed in an early-morning fire while its owners were away on holiday.

Firefighters were called to a Short St property at 4.27am yesterday after reports of a house fire, Waitati chief fire officer Jeff Burrow said.

Upon arrival they found a small cottage fully alight.

Luckily, there was no wind and they were able to contain the fire to the cottage and stop it from spreading to outbuildings and surrounding trees, he said.

Fire crews were at the scene for about three hours.

As well as Waitati firefighters, crews from Waikouaiti, Willowbank, Dunedin and Roslyn attended.

The house was unoccupied.

"There was no saving the actual structure," Mr Burrow said.

"Luckily the neighbours woke up and heard something."

The owners of the house had returned home yesterday and were receiving good support from their neighbours, he said.

The blaze has sparked a warning for people to check batteries and devices in their homes, especially if they are going away.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation, but Mr Burrow said batteries could overheat if left charging or plugged in, particularly during the warmer months and if houses were shut up while occupants were on holiday.

"If you’re not using it, turn it off."

A fire investigator from Invercargill was at the scene yesterday.



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