12 Jan 2009

Funerals held for child victims of Mangere fire

12:19 pm on 12 January 2009

Two of the children who died in a South Auckland house fire in are being laid to rest on Monday.

The children were among 10 people in a house in Mangere when it went up in flames just before 1am last Tuesday.

The fire killed brother and sister Taua and Mia Evile, aged 11 and eight respectively, their stepsister Brenda Simati, 15, and her one-year-old nephew Tyreece Simati.

The funeral for Taua and Mia Evile is being held in Christchurch on Monday afternoon.

The funeral for Brenda and Tyreece was held on Saturday in Auckland.

It was attended by their mother and grandmother, Fetu Evile, who suffered severe burns but was released from Middlemore Hospital for the service.

Her husband, Misi Evile, remains in hospital in a stable condition. Another family member, Livi Evile, 19, is in critical condition.

Fund for family

A fund to help support the survivors of the fire has been set up by the family's church.

The pastor of the Manurewa Life Church, Lui Ponifasio, says this is a sad time for the family and the fund is there to help with the funeral costs.

He says with the house completely burnt out, there is nothing for the remaining family members to come home to.

The children's uncle and family spokesperson, Ave Uta, says the family is overwhelmed by the financial and emotional support offered by the community.

Mr Uta says the family is traumatised by the tragedy but is sticking together and staying strong.

No smoke alarms in house

The Fire Service says the deaths could have been prevented if the house in which they were killed had smoke alarms.

Chief Fire Officer Larry Cocker says a scene examination has confirmed that the fire started when cooking was left unattended.

Mr Cocker says there is no evidence of smoke alarms having been installed in the house.