Homeless man in hospital after fire rips through Porirua bush
VIRGINIA FALLON/FAIRFAX NZ The makeshift camp is in a stand of pine trees by Porirua's Te Wananga O Aotearoa on Heriot Street.
A homeless man thought to have been sleeping rough near Porirua is in hospital with serious burns after firefighters found him near death. The 41-year-old man - found around 4.30pm on Thursday near the local shopping mall, north of Wellington - was initially taken to Hutt Hospital, then to the National Burns Centre at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital on Monday. He has undergone several surgical procedures.
VIRGINIA FALLON/FAIRFAX NZ The scene of a fire on June 29 where a man - thought to be homeless - was badly injured.
He is in a serious but stable condition, a hospital spokeswoman said. Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Ferguson said police were continuing to investigate the cause of the fire and wanted to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time.
GOOGLE MAPS A 41-year-old man was found by firefighters with serious burns as they attended a fire in trees behind Porirua's North City Plaza on Thursday.
"In particular, we would like to identify a man seen walking away from the scene in a northerly direction, along the grass bank," Ferguson said. The man is described as Caucasian, 30 to 40 years old, of medium height and build and wearing long black pants and a grey puffer-type jacket. He was carrying a grey or black backpack and witnesses described him as 'scruffy' and thought he may also have been living rough. On Thursday, a witness to the fire said the burnt man's body and clothes were "smoking when he was dragged out of the pine trees". Firefighters doused him with water before he was taken away by ambulance, she said. Another witness, who did not want to be named, said he had seen a man "walking very quickly" away from the area. On Tuesday, the charred remains of a makeshift camp remained among trees near Porirua's Te Wananga O Aotearoa on Heriot Drive. Branches had been used to make a shelter and burned clothes, bedding, food and cooking utensils were strewn among the pine needles. If you have information that could help the police investigation call Porirua Police on 04 238 1400.
MATT STEWART AND VIRGINIA FALLON STUFF
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