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Tony Prendergast, 84, died after a battle with cancer, at Nurse Maude Hospice, where he had been taken after the blaze.
Their home, Zetland Lodge on Weedons Ross Rd, was destroyed and decades of racing trophies and memorabilia was lost.
Tony’s daughter Jo Prendergast-Lory told The Star yesterday the fire was initially brought under control but reignited about 1.30am, completely destroying it.
“There were all of dad’s diaries that he kept from when he was a young man and he wrote in them every night, racing memorabilia from Hong Kong, Australia and, obviously, all around New Zealand, photos, trophies, dress rugs for the horses, family photos [and] treasures from his home town of Hyde in Central Otago,” she said.
Flames first ignited in the main bathroom of the house, a few metres from the bedroom where Prendergast was. Lyn was in the living room and saw smoke in time to make it to the bedroom and get herself and Prendergast out.
She said fire investigators are still determining the cause of the blaze. But she has been told it was started by an appliance temporarily in the bathroom drying equipment.
Prendergast-Lory said Lyn is “being very stoic, she’s putting on an extremely brave face.
“She’s overwhelmed, but she’s also overwhelmed by everybody’s kindness,” she said.