Northland News Brief: Neighbors help save burning house; and bad weather causes problems

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Firefighters check the roof after a fire at a house on Cemetery Rd in Kāeo. Photo / Peter de Graaf

‘Very lucky’ neighbors spotted fire

Neighbors who raised the alarm after a fire broke out at a home in Kāeo also broke down a door to gain entry and used a garden hose on the flames until firefighters arrived. The Cemetery Rd fire, just before 4 p.m. on Tuesday, was a few doors down from the home of Lindsay Murray, the city’s former fire chief. Murray had to drive past the burning house to retrieve a fire truck from the town’s fire station. The fire, believed to have been started by a wood-burning stove, was quickly brought under control, but the interior was extensively damaged by smoke. Fire Chief Jo Sweet-Bennett said there was also structural damage, but she believed the home could be repaired. The occupants, a woman and her young son, were out by then, so it was “very lucky” neighbors who spotted the fire. They cut the power, broke a ranch slider to gain access, and fought the flames with a garden hose until Kāeo firefighters arrived, supported by crews from Mangōnui and Kerikeri.

Bad weather brings a rude awakening

Wild weather early yesterday gave Rawene Fire volunteers a rude awakening when they were called at 1.45am to remove a tree blocking the main road into town. Fire Chief Zak Bristow said the acacia fell on Rawene Rd about 1km south of the hospital. It took about an hour to saw it down and clear the road.

The death of a woman remains unexplained

Police continue to investigate the unexplained death of a woman found in a Kerikeri river. Senior Sergeant Peter Robinson said the body was found in the Waipapa River near Waipapa Landing on Kerikeri’s Landing Rd by a member of the public on the afternoon of Sunday May 22. His car was nearby. The woman was in her thirties. Robinson said the investigation is ongoing and his death is currently considered unexplained. Earlier, police appealed to anyone who saw or heard anything unusual in the Waipapa Landing area between May 12 and May 22 to call 105, citing case number 220523/0760. Police also wanted to hear from anyone with information about a silver Toyota Estima van in the area between those same dates. Information may also be sent to Crime Stoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

New officer joins Northland Police

Northland will recruit a new police officer from the latest wing to graduate from the NZ Police College. The police reached a new milestone with the graduation of 74 new officers on Wednesday – for the first time ever, the proportion of female police officers in the police force will reach 25%. One of the new officers will be stationed in Northland, with Auckland receiving 25 of the new graduates.

Quad destroyed in a fire; shed saved

A quad bike was destroyed but a farm shed was saved after a fire broke out at a remote property on Otangaroa Rd near Kāeo on Monday. Mangonui Fire Chief Mark Donnelly said the farmer had parked his quad in a half-round barn around 6.10pm when minutes later it burst into flames. He managed to drag the bike outside but the flames spread across the floor and through the pallets to the shed. The Mangonui and Kaeo brigades responded. The shed was charred but still structurally sound, Donnelly said.

Suspected theft on a city street

Police are investigating a suspected robbery on Nixon Street in Whangārei around 3.50am Wednesday. Police did not release details of what happened but, by legal definition, robbery involves theft accompanied by violence or the threat of violence. A police spokesman said no injuries were reported in relation to the incident. They asked anyone with information to contact 105; or anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.

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