Tributes for teen who died in Burnham house fire

The housing block at Burnham Military Camp caught fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning....
The housing block at Burnham Military Camp caught fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Photo: RNZ/Nathan McKinnon
Heartfelt messages have been posted online and placed at the scene of the fatal Burnham house fire that claimed the life of a Rolleston College student on Wednesday.

Elizabeth 'Lizzy' Marvin, 16, died and three others were injured in the blaze which broke out just after 2am inside a block of flats on Toanui St at Burnham Military Camp, south of Christchurch.

Elizabeth Marvin. Photo: Facebook
Elizabeth Marvin. Photo: Facebook
The fire which ripped through the housing block was so ferocious firefighters said they were unable to enter the building.

About 40 firefighters from the Rolleston, Dunsandel, Kirwee, Lincoln, Wigram, Ilam and Christchurch City stations took two hours to bring the fire under control.

Fire and Emergency NZ incident commander Dave Berry said they could only fight the fire from the outside.

“When we tried to make entry, the structure was very unstable – that’s when we’ve used the aerial appliances.”

Berry said Christchurch’s sole double ladder aerial appliance was used to remove the iron roof to gain better access to the blaze.

Two of the six units in the block were also severely damaged, he said.

Specialist fire investigators are looking into the cause. But Berry said the investigation was likely to take several days. 

Burnham Camp commandant, Major Julie Richardson, would not comment at this stage on whether any of the occupants were New Zealand Defence Force personnel.

Elizabeth Marvin. Photo: Facebook
Elizabeth Marvin. Photo: Facebook
Authorities do not believe the fire was suspicious.

Flowers and handwritten notes, many containing tributes for Elizabeth, were placed outside the house on Friday.

The year 12 student has been described on social media as an animal lover and "young and spirited" softball player.

Rolleston Softball Club posted a heartfelt message on Friday.

"It is with great sadness and heartache to inform you of the passing of one of our young and spirited players. Elizabeth “Lizzy” Marvin, 16, died after a fire ravaged the property on Toanui St, just outside the army barracks south of Christchurch, in the early hours of the morning earlier this week," the post read.

"She was the daughter of Anne Marie and the sister, of Michael, and a great friend of the Rolleston Softball Club.

"Our hearts extend to the family during this time, and such a tragedy for all that knew her. Over the years, Lizzie played for many of our younger girls teams, and had recently returned to play last season in the mixed grade in the Breakers, alongside her brother, Michael."

Givealittle page, set up to help the family, had raised more than $5200 by Friday afternoon.

The page stated: "On Wednesday 8th May we lost part of our community family.

"A special family has had a tragic loss and in the spirit of community we ask any one who can to donate to help them. No matter how small the donation is it all counts to make a difference in their lives.

"Mum has always supported her family in any way she could and has been involved in many sporting and schooling events. She can be counted on to fight for her community and now its our turn to support her.

"Many of her family, work colleagues, neighbours, friends and the wider community have all been affected by this loss, so we ask you all,to look after yourselves as there is a long road ahead in the grieving and healing process.

"Burnham Challenge has set up this page with Give A Little so others can also make a difference.

"More information will be added when other family members are contacted, so for now those of you that are aware, understand their need for privacy at the moment."