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Upper Hutt house fire: Woman threw her dog to safety before dying in blaze

A woman was able to throw her dog to safety before perishing in an Upper Hutt house fireearlier this month.

Police have revealed more information about the incident in a statement appealing for information about two separate fires at an address in Bridge Rd, Birchville, Upper Hutt.

The first fire started at the residential property shortly before 2am on Thursday, August 12.

The occupant of the house, Margaret “Terri” Fordham, died in the fire, police said.

She was asleep in her upstairs bedroom with her dog Daisy when the fire broke out.

Police said she woke up 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,” police said in the statement.

Just two nights later, on August 14, neighbours were wokenabout 3.30am by a fire at the same address.

The upstairs area was fully-involved and significant damage was caused, police said.

No one was in the house at the time of the fire.

Police have completed scene examinations after each of the fires. The cause of the first fire is yet to be determined, but the second one is being treated as suspicious.

Detective Sergeant Sam Mercer said police wanted to hear from residents of Bridge Rd, or Birchville, who heard or saw anything suspicious on the nights of the two fires.

Mercer said they were especially keen to hear from those with CCTV.

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

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

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

Anyone with information can call police on 105 and quote file number 210812/6583.

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

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