Firewall saves Tōtara Vale home from large fire in connected building site

Fire and Emergency has revealed what saved the properties surrounding a construction site which went up in flames early on Thursday morning. 

When crews arrived at Kathleen St, Tōtara Vale, shortly before 5am, they weren’t sure how many properties were on fire.

Fire and Emergency Incident Controller Shane Doughty said crews immediately called back-up, and went to work protecting neighbouring homes.

"Four properties were endangered by fire," Doughty told Newshub, "there’s a firewall that protected the house directly in front, and my crews managed to protect the houses behind with multiple low pressure deliveries.

"Once further resources arrived, we managed to work our way in and put the fire out."

Footage from the scene shows the three-storey property at the construction site destroyed by fire, with the adjoining home, which was also under construction, largely unaffected.

Construction site destroyed by fire in Tōtara Vale.
Construction site destroyed by fire in Tōtara Vale. Photo credit: Newshub

Newshub Reporter Travis Mitchell said he was surprised, given the damage to the other surrounding properties.

"The house next door which is about 5-to-10 metres away had its windows cracked and its guttering fall off from the heat of the fire," Mitchell told AM, "the house that is attached was lucky not to catch fire – due to a firewall doing its job."

By 6am the fire was extinguished and firefighters were dampening down hotspots.

The focus at the scene moved to establishing what caused the fire.

Doughty said police have been called in to assist.

"Our fire investigator will start looking for causes. There’s not a lot of property left so it is going to be an extensive investigation to see what did happen."