10 Sep 2014

Whanganui fire victims named

2:58 pm on 10 September 2014

Police have released the names of two women killed in a Whanganui house fire.

They were Gail Edwards, 68, and Ineke Wessel, a Dutch woman who was 73.

Firefighters were called to the Castlecliff property about 6pm on Monday and rescued both women from the house.

The pair were taken to hospital with serious burns but later died.

Police said the fire does not appear to have been suspicious.

The Fire Service said investigators believe the smoke alarms in the house were not functioning at the time, and that family and friends visiting the elderly should routinely check their alarms and change their batteries.

The neighbour of the couple said she would miss visiting them over a cup of coffee.

Dorothy Turner lived next to the women for about five years and said they enjoyed catching up with their neighbours, but also liked their own company.

She said the two had travelled the world and were together for about 40 years, and she nearly cried when she saw the house in flames.

Both deaths have been referred to the coroner.