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Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Police are appealing for information from the public regarding two separate fires at a residential address on Bridge Road, Birchville, Upper Hutt earlier this month.

The first fire started shortly before 2am on Thursday the 12th of August. Sadly, the occupant of the house, Mrs Margaret “Terri” Fordham, died in this fire.

Mrs Fordham was asleep in her upstairs bedroom with her dog Daisy when the fire started. She woke during the blaze and was able to call for help.

Her neighbours and the fire service attempted to rescue her by ladder but were unable to get to her.

Mrs Fordham was able to throw her dog to safety before her death. 

Two nights later, on the 14th of August, at about 3:30am neighbours were again woken by a fire at the same address. This time the upstairs area was fully-involved and significant damage was caused. No one was in the house at the time of this fire.

Police conducted a scene examination and area canvass after each of the fires. The cause of the first fire is as yet undetermined, however Police are treating the second fire as suspicious.

“This is a really tragic situation in which a much-loved mother and friend has lost her life,” Detective Sergeant Sam Mercer says.

“We want to hear from residents of Bridge Road, or Birchville, who heard or saw anything suspicious on the nights of these two fires. Especially those with CCTV which might capture the routes in and out of the area.

“The public may hold information which could help us identify the person who lit the second fire.”

Mrs Fordham’s family have asked for privacy at this time.

Police are encouraging anyone with any information which may assist to contact us by calling 105 and quoting file number 210812/6583.

Information can also be provided anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.