12 Mar 2016

Neighbours not blamed for burnt house

12:45 pm on 12 March 2016

A Canterbury family do not feel blamed after a fire, which possibly started on their farm, destroyed the neighbours' house.

All that remains of Roger Knowles ' mid-Canterbury home.

All that remains of Roger Knowles ' mid-Canterbury home. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

The fire was thought to be linked to a Malvern Hills farm owned by Gillie and Tim Deans on Thursday.

Contractors had been clearing trees and burning piles of branches in the area two weeks ago.

The fire got out of control of firefighters and spread quickly, razing the home of neighbour Roger Knowles.

A helicopter with a monsoon bucket at work in Canterbury.

A helicopter with a monsoon bucket at work in Canterbury. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

It was estimated to have burned about 60 hectares, and Selwyn principal rural fire officer Douglas Marshall said it had probably covered about 300 hectares in total.

Mrs Deans said it was tragic for her neighbour.

She and her husband had been to see the Knowles family, who had said they did not blame them for the fire, she said.

All that remains of Roger Knowles ' mid-Canterbury home.

The house had to be bulldozed after the fire. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

Mr Knowles' son Graeme said he was worried about insurance because the fire appeared to have started in an area on the Deans' farm where consent had been granted to clear trees.

He told Campbell Live yesterday sparks from the fire had crossed whole paddocks and set fire to hedgelines.

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