5 Aug 2015

Man may have slept through smoke alarm

7:10 pm on 5 August 2015

A man who died in an apartment fire in Auckland today may have slept through a smoke alarm, the Fire Service says.

The scene of a fatal fire in Panmure today

Police and the Fire Service at the scene of the fatal fire today in Panmure. Photo: RNZ / Gill Bonnett

The service said his body was found in a downstairs bedroom in the three-storey building of terraced houses in Queens Road in Panmure.

It said several apartments were filled with smoke and many people fled the building. Units on either side of the man's home have been smoke-damaged.

There were working smoke alarms in the property although not in the downstairs bedroom where the man was found, it said.

Seven appliances and 30 firefighters attended the fire.

Fire Service Assistant Area Commander Dave Woon said a smoke alarm in the house went off but did not rouse the man.

Mr Woon told Checkpoint the fire was a small, smouldering blaze that created a lot of smoke.

He said firefighters had trouble accessing the apartment building and it was a few minutes before they could get inside.

Rachael Mataua, who lives opposite the building, said there was little sign of the tragedy, except for light smoke billowing out every three or four minutes.

Police and fire investigators were still at the scene this afternoon, examining the cause of the blaze.

It is the second fatal fire today. A blaze above a restaurant killed three people - a father, a mother and one of their children - in the South Canterbury town of Waimate. Three other siblings escaped the fire by climbing through a window.

In a third incident today, four people were rescued from the roof of a burning building in South Auckland.

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