4 Nov 2009

Elderly man killed in Banks Peninsula fire

8:12 pm on 4 November 2009

Canterbury police have yet to release the identity of an elderly man who died in a house fire on Banks Peninsula.

Volunteer firefighters called to the remote settlement of Little Akaloa, about 25km kilometres north of Akaroa, at about 11.30am on Wednesday found the house well ablaze.

Senior Constable Steve Dittmer of the Akaroa Police says an elderly man was reported missing, and firefighters discovered a body in the burnt out house.

He says most of the houses in the area are holiday homes.

A specialist police search group is examining the house along with fire safety investigators, and the death has been referred to the Coroner.

The fire was one of two serious blazes in Canterbury on Wednesday, as strong, hot north-westerly winds ripped through the province, creating the perfect environment for fires.

A 100m long hedge caught fire at Hinds, about 20km south of Ashburton, and then jumped to another hedge.

Eight fire trucks and tankers were needed at the peak of the blaze and there was concern the fire would spread to a nearby house but it was brought under control in time.