Police want to talk to four men seen leaving the scene after a house fire in Maungatapu over the weekend.
Firefighters were alerted about 6.37pm on Saturday and three trucks from Tauranga and Greerton attended, a Fire and Emergency NZ spokeswoman said.
“On our arrival, we found a well-involved house fire.”
The fire was on the first floor of a two-storey building and all people were accounted for. The fire was extinguished about an hour later.
“The investigation is complete, and the matter has been passed to police.”
Police were investigating the fire and the circumstances, a police spokesman said.
“Police are working to determine exactly what occurred and want to speak to four men seen leaving the address after the fire.”
Anyone who witnessed the fire or had any information was urged to contact police on 105 and reference the file number: 231202/4666.
Phil and Chontelle Strang were at home at about 6.45pm on Saturday when they saw the smoke.
“I came out and looked across the estuary from my kitchen window,” Chontelle told the Bay of Plenty Times.
“She spotted the smoke and flames,” Phil said. “We could see a lot of flames and immediately we started to hear sirens.”
Phil said it was “amazing” to see how fast the fire took hold.
“Three or four minutes and it was all go,” Phil said.
“All the things you hear about fires and about getting out and staying out, it’s for real.
“When you see something like that in real life it’s absolutely chilling.”
Phil said the incident brought home the speed with which a fire can take hold and how important it was to have a plan to evacuate.
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