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Police launch homicide investigation after fatal Northland house fire ruled as arson

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Police have released an image of person they want to identify after a man was discovered dead following a deliberately-lit house fire in Northland last month.

Police have launched a homicide investigation following a house fire in Northland last month, where a man was located deceased.

Emergency services responded to reports of the fire at an address on Thomas St in Tikipunga about 3.09am on April 29.

Police said 61-year-old Hoani Reupena-Tuoro was located inside the property, but despite efforts from first responders, died at the scene.

“Police enquiries have now established that this was an arson and subsequently, this is now being treated as a homicide investigation,” said Whangārei Police Detective Senior Sergeant John Clayton.

Investigators have spoken with a number of people who were in the area at the time and are “making steady progress” with inquiries.

Police investigate the fatal fire in Thomas St, Tikipunga, Whangarei on April 29. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Police investigate the fatal fire in Thomas St, Tikipunga, Whangarei on April 29. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Clayton said police would still like to hear from anyone who knows who started the fire, or saw anyone in the area between the hours of 1.30am through to 3.30am on April 29.

“We are also seeking the public’s assistance in identifying this person who was captured on CCTV in the Te Kura Kaupapa school at the rear of the property that was set alight.”

Anyone with footage that could assist police in their investigation can upload it by going to https://egret.nc3.govt.nz/

Police have urged anyone who has information on the fire to contact them via the 105 phone service or online at https://www.police.govt.nz/use-105 and reference file number 240429/4766. Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.



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