Speculation an electric car caused a fire that destroyed a more than $3 million Coromandel beachfront home has been rejected by a fire investigator.
The Cooks Beach home on Endeavour Pl was engulfed in a spectacular fire that threatened neighbouring properties on Saturday.
About 40 firefighters and five appliances rushed to the scene and managed to contain it before it spread to other homes.
Social media posts and a media outlet then reported a witness as saying the fire had been started by an EV in the home’s garage.
But Fire and Emergency NZ investigator Ed Hopping said that was not the case.
“The investigation is still ongoing … but I’m comfortable to put it out there in the world that the fire wasn’t a result of the battery in the car failing,” Hopping said.
He said the fire started within the home, while the car was parked outside the garage and was not plugged in for charging at the time.
“It’s just important to put out there that hybrid cars … aren’t that vulnerable to fires,” he said.
“And then in this instance, the car wasn’t plugged in and wasn’t inside the garage or the structure.”
Based on Fenz experience so far, he said it isn’t common for fires to be started by electric vehicles in New Zealand.
Hoppin said investigators will be returning to the Endeavour Pl home to continue investigations into the fire’s cause and while that was ongoing, he couldn’t say more.
It is understood the home is owned by Karim and Erica Hussona.
Erica Hussona posted a thank you message on the Cooks Beach Community Facebook page thanking firefighters and the community for doing their best to battle the blaze, the Waikato Times reported.
Karim Hussona is the majority owner and group chief executive of internet service provider Compass NZ.
The 354sq m home was built in 2020 and has a council valuation of $3.1m, according to property website OneRoof.
The website estimated the two-storey home’s value at $3.7m.
The size of the blaze that engulfed the home meant flames and smoke could be seen from as far away as Whitianga, local radio station CFM reported on Saturday.
Photos and videos on the station’s Facebook page show the house almost completely destroyed by the fire.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) told the Herald on Saturday its teams were attending a multiple house fire at Cooks Beach.
They said a second home had also caught fire, but the damage to the second home was not extensive.
Whitianga local Brent Littlejohn told the Herald: “I was at sea and noticed the heavy black smoke coming from Cooks Beach. Thick black smoke is a bad sign so I headed over and that’s what I came across.”
Littlejohn said there were a lot of people around watching and helping where they could.
“The guttering on the house to the right of the picture started smouldering at one point but thankfully the fire service got onto that pretty quickly.”
LittleJohn said when he left at approximately 2pm, the fire crews had started to make a dent in extinguishing the fire.
“The Whitianga brigade arrived and set up a pump down on the beach to use seawater to extinguish it, they had it under control after the pump started.”
Hopping said the fire teams did an outstanding job with a limited water supply.
“There’s no reticulated water at Cooks Beach and they’ve got limited amounts of firefighting water supplies around the beach.
“So, yeah, it was challenging for our crews, but they did a fantastic job, finding and sourcing water from alternative sources around the community.
“It’s something we will be working with the community … to try and get a little bit more water out there.”