The fire was first reported by neighbours, some 400m away, at just before midnight on 9 September 2011. The image above, that they took, shows the ferocity of the blaze. The whole property was involved very quickly, the right hand end is blocked by a tree in the darkness but it too, was ablaze. Whilst they told the insured that they had taken a series of images only two were disclosed by the Police. The images were all collected by the Police from the neighbours a few days after the fire before they were shown to the insured.
The first the insured knew of the fire was when D S Sam Bindon of Kerikeri Police rang them at 9.00am on the morning of the 10 September, they were at a motel in Hamilton almost 400Km away from the house. He told them that they should return home, the house had burnt down and that the damage was very severe, little was left standing.
They arrived back at the property at around 4:30pm on the the day after the fire, shocked by the devastation they saw. Fire Service officer, FSO, Craig Bain was quite forthright, telling them the fire had been caused by ‘Vandals’ and the attending Police officers were also very sympathetic. They were not, however shown anything about the intruders who had smashed their way into the property prior to the fire. They only discovered this had occurred after Chris had been arrested for Arson in April 2012 and he was given photographs taken by DS Bindon at the fire scene.
The property was totally destroyed, a tiny section of the western end survived, the bedroom suite completed by the insured on the ground floor, where the intruders forced an entry, seen above, and the western couple of metres of the master bedroom on the first floor above. Significantly, the ensuite to the new bedroom at ground level supporting the balcony to the master bedroom were almost undamaged as can be seen on these images taken by DS Sam Bindon early on 10 September 2011.
The flashovers that alerted the neighbours to the fire had destroyed most of the window and door onto the balcony. Then debris had been ejected from the bedroom, flames clearly escaped through the opening, destroying the cement board ceiling of the balcony which fell on top of the ejected debris but there was little else to burn so this area of the property survived. Note, however, that the glass that formed the balustrades of the balcony is all smashed on these images.
The real significance of these images is revealed on the Intruders page.