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Priest escapes floods only to have house gutted by fire


Father David Gruschow's house in Westport was destroyed in a fire believed to have been caused by a faulty wire.

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Father David Gruschow’s house in Westport was destroyed in a fire believed to have been caused by a faulty wire.

He escaped the Westport floods but Father David Gruschow’s luck ran out when faulty wiring gutted his home and destroyed all his possessions.

Luckily the St Canice’s parish priest was not at home when the fire broke out on Saturday morning.

Having bought the house when he moved to Westport three and a half years ago, Gruschow came back to a burnt out shell.

“The inside is completely munted.”

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Gruschow lost all his possessions in a house fire in the weekend.

Marion Van Dijk

Gruschow lost all his possessions in a house fire in the weekend.

Double glazing contained the fire within the house, he said, but had limited damage outside.

Gruschow felt fortunate to have his dogs with him when the fire happened, and was relieved they were safe.

All Grushow’s possessions were damaged in the fire, which a fire investigator told him was possibly caused by a faulty wire in the ceiling.

He was now hoping to move into a housekeeper’s flat adjoining the presbytery until his house was repaired.

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman said the home was “extensively damaged”.

Four crews in total were called to the blaze on Watson St, Westport at 5.23am on Saturday.

The crews found the property engulfed in flames and had to call for assistance, he said.

Fire investigator Craig Piner said the cause was still under investigation, but he believed it was caused by an electrical fault in the switchboard or in the ceiling above.

Gruschow is grateful his dogs were with him when the fire happened.

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Gruschow is grateful his dogs were with him when the fire happened.

He said the house had been rewired a few years ago and was fitted with smoke alarms.

A passerby alerted the emergency services, he said.

“It was contained in the centre of the house. It was a good save by the Westport volunteer fire brigade and luckily was spotted early by the passer-by. It could have been a total loss.”

A property on Watson St, Westport, was found engulfed in flames when crews arrived early on Saturday morning. (File photo)

Simon O’Connor/Stuff

A property on Watson St, Westport, was found engulfed in flames when crews arrived early on Saturday morning. (File photo)



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