A 31-year-old Dunedin man has been arrested following a fire that extensively damaged a south Dunedin house yesterday.
He will appear in the Dunedin District Court today on cannabis-related charges, a police spokeswoman said.
A scene guard remained at the Oxford Street house overnight and a fire investigator and police would examine the house today.
Senior Station Officer Kerry McNamara said crews from four stations Dunedin City, Lookout Point, St Kilda and Willowbank were called to the fire from about 4.45pm.
A thick plume of black smoke could be seen across the city.
It was not known how many people occupied the house.
Three pets were rescued from the house.
Jake Shearstone rescued a dog before the first crew arrived.
Mr Shearstone was driving home from work when he saw “flames licking out from the windows” of the house.
He saw a dog, possibly a kelpie, run under a deck behind the burning house.
He jumped a neighbour’s fence to access the yard and “ripped up” a section of the deck to rescue the dog.
Mr McNamara said when the first crew from St Kilda arrived, the back of the house was burning quickly.
A group of people helped establish the water supply by pulling a hose to a hydrant down the street. “It was fantastic.”
Georgia Trillo, who lives in Oxford Street, said about 40 rugby players from King’s High School left training to help.
The intensity of fire had broken the windows in the house next door and melted the plastic monsoon shields on a Toyota stationwagon parked in its driveway.
Tania Auld said she was working in the neighbourhood, and saw a man reverse the stationwagon from the driveway away from the fire.
Scores of people watched the house burn.
“We had a problem with spectators,” Mr McNamara said.
A cordon was established, blocking access to about eight houses.
Firefighters, some wearing breathing apparatus, battled the blaze from the front and back of the house.
The house had working smoke alarms, he said.
St John spokesman Gerard Campbell said an ambulance attended but was not required.
Otago Daily Times