House razed just months after wife dies

Just six months after losing his wife to cancer, Malcolm Taylor has watched his house burn to the ground.

The Middlemarch man was left ''pretty shaken'' and left with only the clothes he was wearing after a fire in his shed spread into his Bray Rd house yesterday.

Firefighters were called to the scene about 10.40am.

Crews from Middlemarch and Outram attended, along with tankers from Wakari and Naseby, which were called because of a lack of access to water at the property.

Mr Taylor said he had been working in the shed on a magazine for a rifle with a blowtorch, bending steel.

He turned off the torch, left the magazine securely in a vice, and went into the house.

But when he smelled smoke, he went back outside and saw fire in the ceiling of the shed.

He tried to put the fire out with a garden hose, but could not get enough pressure to get up to the ceiling.

''I'm pretty shaken. I only lost my wife six months ago to cancer,'' he said.

''I haven't got much more than the clothes that I'm standing in.''

He had house insurance, but not contents insurance, he said.

He was also supposed to travel to Australia on Friday to visit his children and grandchildren, but that had been scrapped.

He stayed with neighbours last night, and a fire investigator was expected to visit the property today.

Middlemarch Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer John Foote said the fire was ''devastating''.

''We made the best attempt we could with what we had,'' he said.

daisy.hudson@odt.co.nz

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