Police and fire investigators are at the scene of a badly damaged Porirua house, where Gazza the police dog was shot and killed last month.
The fire was at the house on Kokiri Crescent where gunman Pita Tekira fatally shot Gazza on April 22. The fire started about 10.45pm on Sunday.
Fire service assistant area commander Gareth Hughes said when firefighters arrived, flames were coming out the side windows of the house.
The blaze was out out by 11.30pm and no-one was found inside the property, Hughes said.
“It’s very badly damaged, I’m sure there’s structural stability inside, but it’s very badly damaged,” Hughes said.
Seven fire trucks and firefighters from Porirua, Johnsonville and Wellington attended the fire.
Emergency services maintained a presence at the site overnight.
Police confirmed the house was the same one where Gazza was shot, before Tekira moved up the street to another house, where he eventually took his own life.
Police senior sergeant Andrzej Kowalczyk said initial reports from the Fire Service indicated there was some “cause for concern” that the fire was suspicious.
However, police would not be able to confirm that till they met with a fire investigator at the scene later in the morning, he said.
FIRE SOUNDED LIKE ‘GUNSHOTS’
Simon Paul, who lives next door to the burnt-out house heard sounds like “gunshots” at about 10.30pm on Sunday.
The sounds were actually “the walls of the house blowing out”, he said.
While there was nobody in the house, there was a family in an adjoining house, he said.
“An Asian woman came out screaming,” Paul said. “They were asleep. The whole family was in there.”
Daniel Lawrence, whose lives over the road, confirmed the woman who had lived in the house was at some point the partner of Tekira.
She had been away since the shooting, but had returned to grab some stuff, he said.
A neighbour, who did not want to be named, said she was called outside by her husband on Sunday night, after hearing what she initially thought was the sound of fireworks going off.
When they got outside, they saw the neighbouring two-storey property was well ablaze.
The flames were so intense they had to jump the fence to a neighbouring property away from the fire, she said.
Her husband pulled their car out of their driveway away from the flames.
The neighbour said nobody had been in the house for a week, since the siege.
The street had been expecting something like this to happen to the houses involved in the siege, she said.
Police were door-knocking the street’s residents about midnight, as firefighters continued dampening down the house’s interior.
At the scene on Monday morning, guards keep watch over the gutted house, where the light green paint has melted from the heat of the fire.
Daylight can be seen shining through the house, with no internal walls left to speak of.
A green and yellow plastic swing is hanging from the pohutukawa tree in the front yard unharmed by the fire that was just metres away.
– Stuff JOEL MAXWELL AND TOM HUNT