22 Nov 2020

Rain dampens hotspots after Dunedin fire

1:12 pm on 22 November 2020

First published on Otago Daily Times

A fire investigator will today begin work to determine what caused a major fire in Dunedin that made a Portobello home uninhabitable and caused the evacuation of multiple nearby properties.

Emergency services were called to the blaze in Beaconsfield Road about 4.30pm yesterday. No one was injured in the blaze and the young family with three children living in the home had evacuated.

The large house, as well as neighbouring macrocarpa trees, caught fire.

Crews were called to the fire in Beaconsfield St about 4.30pm yesterday.

Crews were called to the fire in Beaconsfield St about 4.30pm yesterday. Photo: Gerard O'Brien / Otago Daily Times

Fire incident controller Pete Douglas initially told the Otago Daily Times yesterday it appeared high winds had dropped a power line, where a fire had potentially started.

However, after arriving at the scene he said the fire's cause had yet to be determined and the home was now uninhabitable.

Though the fire was brought under control by 7.30pm, strong winds meant the threat of further flare-ups remained possible.

Fire and Emergency NZ duty shift manager Brent Dunn told the ODT today that heavy rain on Saturday and overnight had made a difference helping to dampen down hotspots.

Three crews from Dunedin and St Kilda remained at the scene overnight.

Dunn said a thermal imaging camera was used at 6am to do a search for traces of further hotspots and a fire investigator would be on site today.

A total of 28 residents from 14 homes were evacuated to Portobello's Coronation Hall on Saturday night.

They were provided with a meal by Otago Civil Defence and Emergency Management and accommodation had been arranged for those unable to return to their homes if needed.

A givealittle page has been set up for the family and by 12pm today $4800 had been donated.

- This story originally appeared on ODT Online