Fire destroys home of motorbike ace

A former motorcycling champion and his family are devastated following a fire that destroyed their Otago Peninsula home.

Dennis Ireland said yesterday he was "pretty numb", following the Tuesday fire that destroyed the family's wooden Company Bay home of the past 10 years.

A former winner of the Belgian Grand Prix in 1979 and the Isle of Man Classic TT in 1982, Mr Ireland said his family had lost nearly everything, including photos, trophies and furniture, which was brought out from England in a 12m container.

His 17-year-old daughter had lost irreplaceable items she had had since a baby, which was particularly hard, he said.

With his business due to move to new premises, some of his racing mementoes, including photos and a couple of trophies, had been packed in boxes and stored in a nearby shed and were undamaged.

However, other racing trophies were destroyed, Mr Ireland said.

"Beautiful crystal trophies have completely gone ... They are all pretty special when you sort of go back to the day in question; a lot of the Irish ones, and the GP trophies are particularly important."

The house was insured and fortunately no-one was home at the time of the blaze.

Mr Ireland said the ordeal made him recall a house fire at Evansdale, when he was a young boy.

In that incident, the quick action of a passing honeymooning couple who alerted his sleeping family, helped prevent any loss of life, he said.

"They saw the flames as they passed [and] woke us up.

"Otherwise, it would have been pretty disastrous because the ceilings were on fire at the time."

Mr Ireland said his family appreciated those who have assisted them since Tuesday's fire.

"A lot of people have been very kind in offering all sorts of help."

A Fire Service spokeswoman said they were called to a "fully involved house fire" at the McTaggart St property shortly before 10am.

Southern Region Fire Safety Officer Stuart Ide said he was still investigating the cause of the fire, but it did not appear to be suspicious.

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

 

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