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2008 News

City's largest fire in decades still burns

Fire investigators today hope to hunt through the wreckage to find the cause of the largest blaze in Auckland in decades.

Firefighters continue to battle Auckland blaze

More than 100 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus were last night fighting a huge toxic blaze at an industrial complex in south Auckland.

Arson suspect found near fire

A Temuka man allegedly responsible for four arsons in the town early yesterday, was arrested within minutes of the last fire being discovered.

Bedridden hopspital patients evacuated during suspicious blaze

Fifteen bedridden patients at a private hospital were evacuated as Hamilton was hit by a series of suspicious fires early today.

Paper mill explosions investigated

A series of explosions at a pulp and paper mill at Kawerau in the Bay of Plenty sparked an urgent response from fire crews in the district this afternoon.

Two dozen licensed sites face fire-drill ultimatum

At least two dozen Northland licensed premises could have their liquor or operating licence cancelled for failing to conduct fire drills.

Safety worried firefighters want another 20,000 sprinkler systems

Firefighters have raised concerns that more than 20,000 commercial buildings have no sprinkler systems.

Bees escape blaze

Nearby residents were forced to evacuate their homes as a fire took hold at Mossop's Honey Shoppe last night, while 10,000 bees were lucky to escape alive.

Fire raises safety issues

The issue of fire safety in larger buildings has again come to the fore with an inferno in a Mitre 10 store at Onehunga.

Mitre 10 fire ruled suspicious

The Fire Service says the blaze which gutted an Auckland Mitre 10 store was suspicious, police now investigating

Manic spraying leads to evacuation

Over-enthusiastic hairspraying by budding ballerinas caused a mass evacuation at the Regent Theatre at Palmerston North.

Tagger may be able to help police identify arsonist

A Christchurch tagger may be able to help police investigating a second arson attempt on a new police station.

Firefighters attend massive Mitre 10 blaze

Auckland's emergency services have been frantic this evening, attending a massive blaze at a Mitre 10 building in Onehunga, as well as an apartment fire in the central city.

$1m Police station blaze

A second arson attack in a week has caused about $1 million damage to a police station under construction in Christchurch, and set the project back more than two months.

Restricted Fire Season in place

The potential for "significant fires" has led the Southern Rural Fire Authority to declare a restricted fire season for the entire southern district.

Bay faces third year of summer drought

Hawke's Bay is heading for another drought after a dry spring.

Tributes flow for local man

The death of Pahiatua businessman Tony Jury in an accident on the Pahiatua Track during the weekend has left a void that will be difficult to fill, several Pahiatua people who knew him said.

Suspicious fire at primary school

A second suspicious fire, this time at a primary school last night, is being investigated by Christchurch police.

Firefighter killed

Pahiatua fire brigade attended a crash that claimed the life of one of their own on Sunday.

Teenager loses everything as fire guts sleepout

Fifteen-year-old Nick Sutton could only watch in dismay as his bedroom burnt to the ground yesterday.

Island Heat

An investigation has been launched into a suspicious fire that destroyed 50 square metres of an island in Lake Wanaka yesterday.

Man arrested for alleged arson of own property

A Taupo man has been arrested for the alleged arson of his home.

Hamilton school bus goes up in flames

A Hamilton school bus driver and his 15 young passengers had a lucky escape after their bus caught fire about 4pm yesterday.

Big nor'wester wreaks havoc

Two hours after a huge wind gust blew a sheet of roofing iron within metres of her son at their Hanmer Springs holiday home yesterday, Mandy Heasley was still in shock.

Fire destroys extra 80ha

Firefighters continued to dampen hot-spots today in a fire that has damaged 140 hectares of conservation land in Northland.

Arson charge for teenagers after fireworks starts house fire

Three teenagers have been arrested and charged with arson after a house fire in New Plymouth.

Abandoned car set alight

The Nelson City Council this morning towed a car from Rocks Rd, after police and firefighters received a late-night callout to a burning vehicle that was holding up traffic.

Man burned in home blast

A man suffered serious burns and a Hamilton couple were left homeless when fire destroyed their Chartwell home yesterday.

Lessons to be learnt from bushfire trap, says rural fire expert

There are lessons to be learnt from the handling of an Australian bushfire which trapped 11 New Zealand firefighters, injuring six of them, says New Zealand's top rural firefighter.

Court fire believed to have started from electrical fault

A fire which forced the evacuation of the Wellington District Court today is believed to have been started by an electrical fault.

Northland passenger in taxi gets ensnared

A taxi you don't want to leave would be a sign of great service - a taxi you can't leave is another story.

Children admit starting home-threatening fire

Three children have admitted lighting a fire that engulfed almost two hectares of scrub and threatened 10 houses and a school on the Kapiti Coast yesterday.

Fire Blazes over 40HA

Helicopters and rural firefighters battled a large scrub fire which blazed across 40ha of steep land near the top of Crown Range Rd yesterday afternoon.

Fewer problems expected at Guy Fawkes

Tougher rules surrounding the sale of fireworks including age restrictions, should cause fewer problems this year says Fire Service

Fireworks tricks are no treat for anyone

Fireworks go on sale this Sunday for four days until 5 November, Guy Fawkes.

Smoke alarm alerts Avonside family

A new smoke-alarm battery fitted at the weekend has helped save the lives of seven people in a Christchurch house.

Delivered from Fire

The driver of a van which caught fire in Arrowtown yesterday has praised the quick response of the town's volunteer fire brigade in preventing a full-scale blaze.

Firefighters stumped by security before putting out fire

Firefighters called to a bank northwest of Auckland today had problems getting into the building because of the bank's security system.

Staff member treated for smoke inhalation following factory fire

One person was treated for smoke inhalation following a fire at a west Auckland factory earlier today.

Rider saves horses in fire

Napier equestrienne Lydia Mitchell is counting her lucky stars after rescuing her two horses from a float fire, foretold by her mother in an offhand quip as the family headed home after a successful campaign at the Poverty Bay Show in Gisborne.

Family returns from outing to find home on fire

A Nen St house fire yesterday was the latest in a "higher than normal" number of house fires in Oamaru recently, Oamaru Chief Fire Officer Gary Gibson said.

Fireworks safety campaign 2008 launched

The New Zealand Fire Service, New Zealand Police, Ministry for the Environment, and the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA New Zealand) are coming together for a third consecutive year to launch a safety campaign to remind those celebrating Guy Fawkes that acting responsibly with fireworks will ensure a fun and successful event for all.

Super gran helps to save four from burning building

Grandma Barbara Shearer is being hailed as a hero after she saved four people from a burning New Plymouth house.

Fire leaves family little but 40 years of memory

A Northland family have been left with a few photographs and a pile of ashes after their house was destroyed by fire.

Old miner's cottage destroyed in mystery blaze

An old miner's cottage in Waihi, in the Coromandel, was gutted in a suspicious fire early today.

Arson site to be demolished

A building in the heart of Feilding hit twice by arson is a hazard and could be demolished within days.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs

The Fire Service has no evidence to suggest CFC bulbs pose any different or greater risk than conventional incandescent bulbs. The Fire Service will continue to monitor callout statistics and will report any changes in this position. The Fire service also advises purchasers of CFC bulbs to carefully read the instructions on the packaging to ensure they are installed and used only as directed.

Burning vacuum cleaner likely cause of fire

A fire that tore through a famous 19th century British ship was likely caused by a vacuum cleaner bursting into flames that was used for renovation work, police said Tuesday.

Tamahere Icepak Coolstore report released

The New Zealand Fire Service Commission’s report into the explosion and fire at the Icepak Coolstore in Tamahere, Hamilton, resulting in the death of Senior Station Officer, Derek Lovell, and seriously injuring seven other firefighters, was released today.

Two dead, one critically injured in Northland smash

A horror smash that killed two young Northlanders and left another critically ill is one of the worst a veteran firefighter has ever seen. Shortly after midnight yesterday a 21-year-old woman lost control of her car on a straight stretch of road about a kilometre from Ahipara, 14km southeast of Kaitaia.

U.S and Kiwi Firefighters swap skills

Forty-metre-tall flaming redwood trees, bears, snakes and next to no water, those were some of the challenges a Northland firefighter had to contend with in California's vast forest fires.

Mobile shop serves extra-hot coffee

Firefighters were called when Alexandra's mobile coffee unit burst into flames.

Workers trapped in collapsed crane

A workman was trapped in a crane 10m above the ground for more than 40 minutes following an accident in the Auckland suburb of Parnell this afternoon.

Historic building fire suspicious

Invercargill fire safety officer Mike Cahill and Alexandra senior crime officer Dave George investigating the cause of a suspicious fire in Alexandra's old boxing club.

Intellectually disabled man saves family after fire kills friend

An intellectually disabled young man is being praised for saving his family after a house fire in which a family friend perished yesterday.

Toxic gas sends 11 to hospital

Toxic fumes spewed from a Christchurch industrial building on Wednesday, with 11 people needing hospital treatment and streets being cordoned for several hours.

Fire Service stalwart honoured

He's been credited with saving lives and going beyond the call of duty to prevent fires, but fire safety officer George Stephens says it's just part of the job.

Crash Victim's Family thank Firefighters with morning tea

Firefighters from Greerton and Tauranga were treated to morning tea by recovered crash victim Meghan Bowker and her family yesterday.

Restaurant Evacuated

Diners had their meals interrupted on Saturday night when a fire broke out in a Wanaka building.

Earthquake Jolts Hawke's Bay

Power and phone lines were cut, railway lines closed and goods toppled from shop shelves as a 5.9 magnitude earthquake shook Hawke's Bay last night.

Colouring Competition Winners

The Fire Service is pleased to announce the winners of the colouring competition held recently at the Kids Fair in Wellington.

No Blazes from CFL Bulbs

Energy Safety has said it has no concerns over the safety of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

Minister welcomes returning Kiwi Firefighters

Rick Barker, Internal Affairs Minister today welcomed the safe return of nine rural firefighters from a 34-day tour of duty in California, the fifth such deployment to the USA since 2000.

Smoke alarm would have saved Kaumatua, inquest suggests

A well-known Northland kaumatua's refusal to have smoke alarms installed in his home where he lived alone could have ultimately led to his death, an inquest has revealed.

Emergency Services Race to Parliament after White Powder Scare

Fire engines and ambulances raced to Parliament Wednesday morning after a white powder scare in the Beehive.


The Fire Service is looking into whether eco bulbs are a safety hazard after reports some have melted at the base.

Fire at McDonald's Restaurant disrupts Capital

Central Wellington streets were cordoned off Thursday morning after a small fire in the kitchen of a McDonald's restaurant.

Roofs Fly as Storm Hits Te Aroha

Roofs were ripped from 12 Te Aroha houses forcing families to flee their homes as the weekend's 'rare and nasty' storm ripped through the Waikato. Te Aroha fared the worst in the Waikato with roofs blown off, power poles flattened and mature trees uprooted, but the brunt of the destructive storm was felt in Northland and Auckland.

Canada Welcomes Kiwi Firefighters

Canada is welcoming New Zealand's arrangement to send kiwi firefighters to help tackle wildfires. Both Governments have today signed a mutual assistance agreement meaning both countries can send firefighters to help out during disasters. Canada's High Commissioner to New Zealand, Penny Reedie says it is great to know they can call on their friends to help fight forest fires. She says like the US, Canada suffers from significant fires, and the challenge is to have people with the knowledge and expertise to help out.

Little Relief for Storm Victims as Another Blast Moves in

There may be little relief for North Island residents battered by the weekend storm in which four people died, thousands of homes were left without power, and roads were closed, as forecasters warn of another blast on the way. The northern end of the country was hardest hit by the deep depression, which forecasters described as the worst in 10 years.

Thousands Left Without Power Long After Storm

Thousands of homes will still be without power today as the North Island recovers from the storm that in some areas was the worst in 30 years. Firefighters in Te Aroha in the eastern Waikato believe the storm was worse than one in 1978 which destroyed the town's movie theatre.

Father Dies in House Fire, Daughter in Serious Condition

Wellington, July 27 NZPA - Emergency services are today trying to find out the cause of a house fire in north Waikato which left a man dead and his 12-year-old daughter in a serious condition. Firefighters were called to the blaze at Meremere, 65km southeast of Auckland, about 3am today.

Candles may have caused Matamata Fire

Auckland, July 27 NZPA - A blaze that claimed the life of a 38-year-old man in north Waikato may have been caused by candles the family were using when power was cut during this weekend's storm. The man was found dead in his home in Meremere, 65km southeast of Auckland, following the blaze about 3am today.

Firefighters Take Precautions Over Gold Factory Fire

Firefighters fearing they may have been exposed to arsenic washed themselves down after a high-risk call to a gold smelting company in Auckland. Arsenic is used in the smelting of gold and firefighters took the precaution of washing themselves down under portable showers after they attended a fire at the Regal Castings factory in Mt Eden.

Tragedy Blamed on Faulty Appliance

An electrical fault in a dehumidifier has been ruled out as the cause of a fire that killed a Far North 92-year-old - but investigators still believe the appliance was to blame. When fire razed the home of Winifred Coxshall at Umawera, 45km southeast of Kaitaia, on June 11, suspicion quickly fell on the elderly woman's near-new dehumidifier.

NZ Firefighters Deployed to Northern California

Hutt City fire manager Alan Thomson says the nine New Zealanders sent to the United States to fight bushfires have all been deployed in Butte County in northern California.

Young Mother Dies After Carers Sent Her Home

A YOUNG MOTHER took her life in a deliberately lit house fire _ less than a day after she was released from hospital care against her family's wishes. The case is the latest in a string of patient deaths in the mental health system: all young New Zealanders whose distraught families say they've been let down because of chaotic care.

Long Night for firefighters in Katikati

Long Night for firefighters in Katikati
Extensive damage to Satara kiwifruit coolstore facility in Katikati, Bay of Plenty; investigations underway this morning Bay of Plenty firefighters have worked through the night to dampen down hotspots, after a massive blaze at a coolstore in Katikati.

Alarm Prevents Serious Fire

Alarm Prevents Serious Fire
A burglar alarm at the Timaru Yacht and Powerboat Club warded off a different kind of unwelcome entrant yesterday morning.The activation of the alarm, caused from burning wires, saved the building from a potentially serious fire. The Timaru Fire Service was called to the scene about 6.25am with two appliances attending from Timaru and one from Washdyke.

Quick action limits fire

Quick action limits fire
A sample fat fryer which caught fire at McCain's Washdyke factory yesterday morning caused moderate damage to an administration building.

Inquiry team appointed

Inquiry team appointed
A team has been appointed to conduct the investigation into the tragic incident at the Tamahere Ice Pak cool store at the weekend that resulted in the loss of life of SSO Derek Lovell, and serious injury to seven of his fellow firefighters.

Fire Service seeks help from public

Fire Service seeks help from public
The New Zealand Fire Service is asking the public who witnessed the explosion and fire at the Tamahere Ice Pak coolstore on Saturday to help them with their investigation.

Condolences to Derek Lovell and his family

Condolences to Derek Lovell and his family
The New Zealand Fire Service extends its deepest sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of Derek Lovell.

Support for Hamilton firefighters and their families

Support for Hamilton firefighters and their families
The New Zealand Fire Service has received a large number of enquiries from the public wishing to express their support to the families of fire fighters involved in the tragic Tamahere fire last weekend.

Firefighter loses life in cool store incident

Firefighter loses life in cool store incident
It is with profound regret the New Zealand Fire Service advises that Senior Station Officer Derek Lovell has died from injuries sustained in an explosion and fire at a cool store facility in Tamahere on Saturday afternoon.

Funeral for SSO Derek Lovell

Funeral for SSO Derek Lovell
Media are invited to a photo opportunity at 11am, tomorrow, Friday 11 April, at Hamilton Fire Station.