Deadly Waimate kitchen fire started by a kettle, coroner's report reveals

A deadly kitchen fire that killed a Nepalese couple and their eight-year-old son was started by a kettle, a coroner's report reveals. 

Tej and Tika Kafle and son Prem died after a fire broke out in the flat above the family-owned restaurant in Waimate on the morning of August 5, 2015.

The fire started when a kettle in the kitchen ignited, spreading flames up a nearby wall and onto the ceiling, fire investigator Kevin Collins determined.

The couple and their son all died from carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation. Their bodies were found covered in first-and second-degree burns.

The couple's three other children escaped from the fire by breaking a window and climbing on to the roof, eventually being helped down by members of the public, coroner Marcus Elliott said in the report.

They had called out to their parents and brother to warn them of the blaze, but had no response.

Tej and Tika are believed to have been awake at the time of the fire as they were both fully dressed when their bodies were found.

It is believed Tika was first alerted to the fire when she opened the couple's bedroom door and led Prem down the hallway, through smoke towards the top of the stairs to escape.

She went back to try help her husband and children but became caught in the fire. 

Tej was unable to escape from the bedroom and tried to protect himself from the flames by covering himself in blankets. 

No evidence has been found to determine what caused the kettle to ignite, nor has there been any evidence to prove the kettle was faulty at the time of its sale.

Mr Elliott ruled the risk of death or injury caused by appliances such as the kettle could be reduced when they were monitored or turned off at the wall/socket after being used.

While there were smoke alarms installed in the flat, the batteries had been removed because they had been falsely going off.

Properly placed smoke alarms could save lives, Mr Elliott said. A smoke alarm should be installed in every bedroom, living area and hallway in each house, he said.