Two New Zealand children die in fire

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Two children living in a bach (a small holiday home) in Motueka, New Zealand died in a fire on Saturday night. The two children who perished in the 10.25 p.m. fire were an 11-year-old girl, Charna Maria Baileys Edwards and a 12-year-old boy, Whetumarama James Edwards.

The New Zealand Police say that the cause of the fire was ashes taken from a log fire and then placed in a plastic bucket. The ashes then reignited.

Also injured in the fire was the children's grandmother, 54-year-old, legal guardian to the two children, and an uncle, 34. A firefighter also received minor injuries. They are all being treated in Nelson Hospital and are in a stable condition.

Grief counsellors have been sent to Lower Moutere School where the two children went to school. Eric Davies, principal of Lower Moutere School, told National Radio "The families of the classes that the children were in have been contacted and asked if they could discuss it with their kids."

Kevin Whitlow, a witness to the fire, told The Press "It was horrendous knowing there were two children stuck in there and there was nothing you could do because it was already too late. The woman just kept saying, `Save my grandchildren, my grandchildren are in there'."

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