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Police and fire officers have ruled out any connection between a Christchurch house fire in which a woman and her daughter died and a second fire at a house nearby 10 minutes later.
Emergency services were called to a blaze at a house on Avalon Street, in the suburb of Richmond, about 12.45am today.
A 38-year-old woman and her six-year-old daughter were found dead inside the property.
Police said this afternoon they were treating the blaze as suspicious.
About 10 minutes after that fire, emergency services were called to a second burning house in Tancred St about a kilometre away and found a man inside.
He had suffered serious injuries and was tonight in a stable condition in Christchurch Hospital's intensive care unit.
Fire Assistant Area Commander Dave Burford said the cause of the second fire was not suspicious and preliminary investigations showed the possible failure of an electrical component caused the blaze.
Detective Senior Sergeant David Harvey said investigations were continuing at the scene of the Avalon St fire.
Police were working with coronial services to formally identify the mother and daughter whose names were not expected to be released for a day or so.
An Avalon St neighbour saw emergency services remove the victims' bodies from the house.
"The house was on fire, so we went outside, all you could see was flames, flames shooting up into the air at the back of the house," she told Radio New Zealand.
"There were two fire engines out the front, there was an ambulance, there were police cars, they were all running around."
The house was still burning as the bodies were removed, she said.
"It had completely wiped out the back, you could see all the flames coming up and then the flames starting coming out the front of the house.
"We didn't know who was in the house at the time, I was hoping there were no children ...'cos it was horrible, it was well and truly ablaze before the firemen even got the people out."