CASE 3: Crime of the Week - Bridge Road Fires, Upper Hutt

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CASE 3: Crime of the Week - Bridge Road Fires, Upper Hutt

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Ten 7, Episode

31
16th September 2021

Police are investigating two separate house fires that occurred at a house in Upper Hutt, the first of which tragically resulted in the death of the sole occupant.

The first fire occurred in the house at 14 Bridge Road, where, just before 2am on the 12th of August, the victim, Terri Fordham, awoke to find her house on fire.

The whole lower level of the house was ablaze, and Terri was unable to use her stairs to get down from the upper level. Terri opened the window and screamed for help, and neighbours brought a ladder over. Terri threw her dog Daisy out the window, but was unable to get herself out. Emergency services arrived and managed to control the fire on the ground floor, but by the time they reached the upper floor where Terri was, she had sadly succumbed to the fire. 

Two days later, on the 14th of August at around 3.40am, emergency services were called back to the address where they found a fire fully involved in the upper level of the house. With this second fire, police are in the unique position of having already done a scene examination, and only days after the first fire, they believe the second fire is as a result of arson. 

While police know the second fire has been deliberately lit, they want to know the motivation behind it. Police know someone was on the property at around 3.30am on the 14th of August, and they are asking for help from anyone in the public who might have seen someone, or heard someone talking about the house. 

This tragic incident has had a significant impact on Terri’s family, friends, and the wider community. Terri’s son, Kester, says his mother is missed deeply and he is not surprised that her last action was to save her dog Daisy, and she was always putting other people and creatures before herself. Kester is confused and perplexed by the second fire, and is devastated that the family home his father built has been destroyed.  

Police would like to hear from anyone in the community who saw either of the fires or has any information, so that Terri’s loved ones can begin to heal together.