Police launch homicide investigation after house fire

The Cockle Bay home was badly damaged in the October 20 blaze. Times photo Wayne Martin

A homicide investigation has begun into the circumstances that resulted in a man’s death in a house fire in east Auckland.

Wiremu Arapo, 27, died after a blaze broke out at a house in Minerva Terrace, Cockle Bay, on October 20.

Counties Manukau East Police acting detective senior sergeant Craig Bolton says Arapo was found dead at the property during the incident.

“As is standard procedure, police began making enquiries into the death on behalf of the coroner.

“However, as our enquiries into the circumstances of Mr Arapo’s death have progressed, and following a post mortem examination, it has now led police to treat the matter as suspicious.

“A team of investigators have now been assembled to work on the enquiry.”

The two-storey house was well alight when emergency services arrived at the scene. Photo supplied Mike Rowse

Bolton says two people injured in the house fire were taken to hospital at the time.

They have since spoken to police as part of the investigation, he says.

“I strongly believe there are people that know what has happened to Mr Arapo and I’m urging them to do the right thing and contact us.

“The news of this homicide enquiry may cause some concern to members of the wider community.

“Police would like to reassure the public that we have a team of committed detectives working on this matter.

“We ask anyone who may have information or who witnessed suspicious activity on the evening of October 20 to come forward.”

People with information can phone Counties Manukau Police on 09 261 1321.

Information can also be provided anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.