Self-storage fire: Johnsonville man arrested and charged with arson

News from NZ Police
Wellington Police have arrested a 34-year-old Johnsonville man and charged him with arson in relation so the fire that damaged the Kiwi Self Storage facility on Rongotai Road in Kilbirnie in the early hours of 4 April.

He appeared in the Wellington District Court today.

Detective Senior Sergeant Grant Ferguson says “It is pleasing to be able provide the large number of victims who have lost many valuable items, both in the monetary and sentimental sense, with the reassurance that someone will be held accountable for this arson.”

“A dedicated investigation team has been engaging with our community and collecting information and evidence along the way. As a result, this arrest has been made late yesterday after a search warrant was executed at a Johnsonville address. A vehicle has also been seized that we believe is relevant to the investigation.”

Wellington Police are seeking witnesses who may have seen a 1994 Daihatsu Charade, coloured light blue, in the suburbs of Johnsonville and Kilbirnie (particularly around the storage unit) between 12.00am and 1.00am on Friday 4 April 2014.

The alleged offender has also been captured on CCTV at the self storage unit and it appears that he have changed clothing to avoid detection.

“We continue to seek the public’s assistance with this investigation as I believe they will hold valuable information about the movements of the offender on the night of the fire.”

Wellington Police have set up a dedicated email address for the victims of the fire which is kiwistoragefire@police.govt.nz.

Anyone with any information should contact Wellington Police on (04) 381 2000. Information can also be provided anonymously by contacting the Crimestoppers organisation on 0800 555 111.

Media release from Peter Fowler – April 14
A public meeting for victims of the Kiwi Self-Storage fire is to be held on Wednesday night. Police are treating the fire as arson.

Kiwi Self Storage operated the facility with no sprinklers, no automatic isolating fire doors and no externally monitored alarm. However, they claim to have complied with the Fire Code.

We understand that emergency services were not called until 30 minutes after the alarm was activated. The Fire Service have indicated if the alarm had been monitored or they had been called immediately, they could have been there in 5 minutes and contained the blaze at source.

The company is owned by three Auckland property developers. None of the directors have made any public statements or visited the site. The son of one director is their spokesperson and he was sent to Wellington for all of three days last week before he returned and has not been seen since. The management of the crisis has been chaotic and very distressing for so many families who have lost everything.

We are meeting Annette King and Grant Robertson tomorrow to seek their assistance and to investigate if the company did in fact comply with the building/fire codes as they claim. We are seeking legal advice about our options.

We may also lobby for a change in the law if storage facilities are indeed allowed to operate in this way. The Minister of Internal Affairs has indicated he supports a review of the current law.

Facebook group: Kiwi inferno storage (kis)

Public Meeting for all victims:
Date: Wednesday 16 April
Time: 7pm
Location: Spruce Goose, Lyall Bay (upstairs)
Agenda: Updates, Share experience and discuss Action Plan

Peter Fowler is one of the coordinators of the Victim Support & Action Group

Earlier:
Malicious, deliberate arson
22 appliances fight blaze

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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