FIRE AT PAPAITONGA.
SIR WALTER BULLER'S HOUSE DESTROYED.
About midnight on Tuesday the six-roomed homestead on Sir Walter Buller's properly at Lake Papaitonga was destroyed by fire, with all it contained.
There were in the house at the time Mrs. Spicer (wife of the caretaker, who was away in Otaki), her three daughters and son and a visitor. Mrs. Spicer thought she heard some one call her and got up. On getting to the passage she found it full of smoke. In the front room the lining above the mantelpiece was blazing.
She awakened the sleepers, but little could be done to save anything. They tried to get a piano out but could not, and the flames began to get a firm hold of the building, and the inmates had to take to the open air.
Beyond some clothing belonging to young Spicer and the visitor (Mr. Martin) nothing was saved.
The loss to Mr. Percy Buller is great, for he had a piano, many valuable curios, a choice collection of books, and general furniture in the house. The building was insured in the Standard for £350, and the furniture in the same office for £225. Mr. P. A. Buller states that he will rebuild shortly.
Mr. Spicer, the caretaker, lost heavily. When the stables were burned on this property a few months since he lost £50 worth of furniture stored there, and by the fire on Tuesday night he has lost every article belonging to the family, valued at £100.
The fire appears to have been caused by the subsidence of the breastwork of the chimney.