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Investigation into fatal Invercargill fire

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/11/2016 Cassie Devoy

Police and fire services are still investigating the scene where a man died after a fierce blaze tore through a block of flats in Invercargill.

The deceased man, believed to be known to the occupant but not a resident there, won't be identified until the post-mortem is complete.

More than half a dozen people managed to escape the flames.

Firefighters were called to the fire in two flats in a block of five in Tramway Road just after 1am on Wednesday.

As they fought the fire they came across the body, says Fire Service Southland assistant area commander Deane Chalmers.

"This is an absolutely tragic loss for the community. It's a terrible thing," Mr Chalmers said.

Up to eight people had been in the flats but they managed to get out and were being helped by Victim Support, he said.

"It was a very, very intense fire ... there was a significant amount of heat coming off," Mr Chalmers told NZ Newswire.

It took them about 45 minutes to control the fire. The two central flats were completely destroyed while the others suffered significant fire and smoke damage.

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