13 Nov 2008

One dead, three in hospital after fires

5:42 pm on 13 November 2008

One person is dead and three are in hospital following house fires.

The local volunteer fire crew was called to a home in the Hawke's Bay coastal settlement of Haumoana just after 3am on Thursday, and arrived to find the house well ablaze.

They managed to rescue three of the occupants, but were unable to save 87-year-old Gwendoline Kupa, who died from smoke inhalation.

Two people were admitted to Hawke's Bay hospital in Hastings, including Mrs Kupa's husband, who suffered serious burns and was later flown to Hutt Hospital in Wellington for treatment.

The Fire Service's regional commander, Paul Baxter, says at least two generations of family lived at the house.

Mr Baxter said smoke alarms alerted the occupants, but the woman was unable to get out in time. He says the woman's neighbours and fire crews tried to save her, but the fire was too intense.

The Eastern Regional Fire Commander, Chris Nicoll, says the Fire Service and police are investigating the incident. He says it is too early to determine the cause of the fire.

Another person is in a serious condition in Hutt Hospital following a house fire in the Wellington suburb of Mount Cook on Wednesday night. Fire safety officers are investigating.