18 Nov 2009

Only one smoke detector working: woman, child die in fire

8:28 pm on 18 November 2009

A woman saved from a fatal house fire in Manawatu was woken by a smoke detector, but other detectors weren't working because they didn't have batteries.

Atarina Robinson, 22, and three-year-old Lesharn Taitoko died in the early morning fire in Foxton.

Neighbours helped the girl's 24-year-old mother to escape through a window.

The assistant area fire commander, Rodger Calder, says the mother, who was asleep in the lounge, was awoken by a smoke detector. Firefighters entered the building to rescue the victims, but weren't able to resuscitate them.

The police say their investigation is continuing, but it appears that the fire was not suspicious.

Fifty family members and friends visited the scene on Wednesday afternoon to pay their respects to the victims and say a karakia.