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2009 News

Post Guy Fawkes Report

The Fire Service is delighted that New Zealand escaped largely unscathed from this year’s Guy Fawkes celebrations. National Commander Mike Hall said there was the expected increase in calls to Communication Centres, however, the impact was significantly less than last year as celebrations were largely confined to 5 and 6 November. Last year, the increased activity spanned four days, from Thursday 5 November through to Sunday 8 November.

NZ Red Cross Canterbury Earthquake Appeal

People wanting to donate goods to those affected by the earthquake are requested to make cash donations instead.

Investigation reports linked to Rangiora fatal fire released


Study finds link between children’s fire-setting and adult criminal offending

A strong link between fire setting as a youngster and criminal behaviour as an adult has been found in New Zealand Fire Service research.

Fire Service looks forward to less work with fireworks

Last year saw the lowest number of fireworks related incidents on record and the Fire Service is hopeful this very positive trend continues in the lead up to Guy Fawkes.

Statement from Acting National Commander Paul McGill

The Fire Service is taking seriously concerns that have been expressed in relation to a fatal house fire in Rangiora on 20 September. Our sympathies are with the family and we have met with them to talk about what happened and answer any questions

Statement re fatal Rangiora fire on 20 September 2009

Fires are fought under rapidly changing circumstances where decisions need to be made and communicated quickly.

New Zealand provides support to UNDAC (United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination).

Two senior Fire Service staff have been deployed to help with the United Nations relief effort in the Pacific.

Fire Service will not bow to Union Threat

The New Zealand Fire Service is extremely concerned that the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union has refused to withdraw its industrial action to allow wage negotiations to continue today.

Fire Service Refutes Union Allegations

No-one is immune from the hardships caused by the current economic climate and it's about time the Union representing paid firefighters understood that and advised their members accordingly said Mike Hall, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Fire Service.

Appointments to NZ Fire Service Commission

The Minister of Internal Affairs Nathan Guy today announced the reappointment of Dame Margaret Bazley as Chair of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission and the appointment of Rt Hon Wyatt Creech as Deputy Chair.

Safety Not Affected by Union Action Says Fire Service

New Zealanders’ safety would not be compromised by planned industrial action announced yesterday by the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union, said New Zealand Fire Service Chief Executive Mike Hall.

Candle Sparks Fire

The danger of candles left burning was destructively illustrated in Hastings yesterday when a double garage containing stored furniture and a trailer was gutted by fire.

Fire at Coutts' House not Suspicious

THE fire which on Monday night destroyed a large house owned by yachting star Russell Coutts is not being treated as suspicious.

Flooding Forces Evacuation in Greymouth

Homes were evacuated and roads flooded as torrential rain fell in Greymouth last night.

Final ride for Scotty

Firefighter Andrew "Scotty" Scotland has taken his last ride aboard his favourite Waipu fire truck.

Temuka home fire seen as suspicious

Yesterday's fire at Bramwell Booth House in Temuka is being treated as suspicious.

Blaze sounded like 'thunder'

A fire that gutted a sleepout sounded "like thunder going off" according to a resident living in a flat nearby.

Firefighters seek history to cherish

Timaru firefighters are putting out an alert and calling for a response from the public.

Fighting on the front lines

One day he's helping to fight the Victoria bushfires, beating back flames and dodging falling trees in the searing heat.

Emergency fire near downtown café sends hundreds into street

A man burned his arm as he tried to put out a fire that resulted in hundreds of Auckland office workers being evacuated and a busy central city block cordoned off yesterday.

Pilot and his passenger die in hang-gliding incident

A commercial pilot and his passenger are dead after their tandem hang-gliding flight went wrong this morning.

Firefighters will return if fires break out again

Rural firefighter will return to help in Victoria if bushfires flare again- Jim Herdman has arrived back in NZ

NZ firefighters pleased with job they did in Victoria

A number of New Zealand firefighters have returned from bushfire-blackened regions of Victoria, satisfied with the job they did.

Challenge of the wild waves

Hurricane-force winds that lifted roof tiles and uprooted trees in the North Island yesterday will ease today, but heavy rain will replace them until midday at least.

Second firefighting force departs

Nick McCabe suffered serious burns the last time he fought fires in Victoria, but making the decision to help out again was easy.

Restaurant fire began in cooker

The top part of Timaru's Stafford St was closed yesterday as firefighters were called to a blaze at Ginger and Garlic restaurant.

New Zealand Fire Fighters to Assist State of Victoria

The Department of Sustainability and Environment in Victoria, Australia has made a second formal request to the National Rural Fire Authority for support from New Zealand to assist with management of a number of large uncontained wildfires in State lands of Victoria says New Zealand’s National Rural Fire Officer, Murray Dudfield.

More kiwi firefighters for Victoria

Another contingent of NZ firefighters with high country firefighting experience being sent to Victoria to help contain bush fires

Motorists save mother and daughter from burning car

A mother and her four-year-old daughter's lives were saved after they were pulled from their burning car following a crash near Taupo this afternoon.

Opoutama blaze sparks call to control growth

A couple who lived through the Opoutama fire hope the disaster will prompt their neighbours, councils and fire authorities to take better care of the land around them.

Plenty of water but few problems as storm hits Northland

Civil defence workers on alert for flooding and weather problems in the Far North say they have had only had reports of minor damage so far.

Road safety initiatives contribute to road toll drop

The success of safety initiatives which have contributed to an over 50% decrease in the Christchurch road toll will be celebrated next week.

Explosion rips Taupo charter boat apart

Firefighters put out a fire on a luxury fishing launch on Lake Taupo just hours before a second blaze sparked a series of explosions, ripping the boat apart at its mooring.

Firefighters dig in as heat, wind loom late in week

Firefighters are battling to contain seven bushfires still out of control in Victoria ahead of predicted heat and strong winds towards the end of the week.

Fire restrictions eased

Four days of steady rain have prompted the Dunedin City Council to lift the city's total fire ban but the lighting of fires remains prohibited in the Central Otago district.

Heroes, humanity and loss remembered

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spoke of heroes and humanity, Victorian Premier John Brumby of rebuilding and Governor-General Quentin Bryce of keeping alive the memory of those who perished in Victoria's bushfires.

Simple training and preparedness save Kiwi's life

He survived Victoria's bush-fire disaster and now a Kiwi dad wants fire education to be on the checklist of everyone who wants to move to rural Australia.

Model T survives fiery trip for Deco Festival

Ditch the flaming family wagon, just save the Model T was the reaction of a couple on their way to Napier yesterday afternoon.

Ruapehu evidence points to determined and organised arsonist

The arson attacks on Ruapehu ski field last weekend appear to have been carried out by someone who was determined, organised and had extensive knowledge of the area, police said today.

Emergency firefighters battle 'lava flow' from glass plant

More than 70 firefighters fought to cool 120 tonnes of melted glass which they said was "like trying to stop a lava flow" when a furnace began leaking at an Auckland glass recycling plant yesterday.

Weekend rain helps fire crews

The weekend rain has aided the efforts of those still working to secure a fire zone at Opoutama, in northern Hawke's Bay.

Family loses everything

A mother from Toko and her two young sons have been left with nothing after an horrific house fire tore through their home at the weekend.

Investigators working to pinpoint cause of mountain fire

Investigators will today get a clearer picture of how fires which destroyed buildings and machinery on Mt Ruapehu overnight on Friday were started.

Skifield will open this season in spite of devastating fire

Shattered workers at Whakapapa skifield on Mt Ruapehu are determined the season will open on time this year after devastating overnight fires.

PM to farewell Victoria-bound crews

Prime Minister John Key will farewell 53 firefighters who are flying to Victoria to help with the battle against bush fires

Mahia fire bill could top $500,000

With Department of Conservation firefighters still at the scene of the huge scrub fire at Mahia, the final bill for tackling the East Coast blaze could reach $500,000.

Room explodes in fire as mother walks in

A single room left untouched after a fire ripped through a Lower Hutt home proves the importance of keeping internal doors closed, firefighters say.

Fire bans likely as drying conditions increase risk

Australia's devastating bush fires have raised awareness about the fire danger in South Canterbury.

Volunteer and Emergency Services offer behind-the scenes insight

Emergency Services groups will join forces at North Harbour Stadium on Sunday 15 February for the Volunteer and Emergency Services Open Day, hosted by the New Zealand Fire Service, to provide the public a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into their daily roles.

Hell's fury unleashed

Victoria has witnessed Australia's greatest natural disaster. Worse than Black Friday. Worse than Ash Wednesday. Only in wartime has the toll of dead and wounded Australians been greater.

People and pukeko assess their future after blaze

Pukeko stand at the edge of burnt swamp land, prodding at what's left of their habitat.

Soaring temperatures may bring unexpected dangers

Canterbury's bumper summer is about to heat up again with forecasters tipping the country's record for the hottest day could be under threat tomorrow and Monday.

Fire-hit school faces months of outdoor assemblies

Shocked and upset children have been told they will be having weekly assemblies on the grass after an arsonist set fire to their school hall.

Salvage mission underway on burnt-out boats

A massive fire on a hillside north of Nelson forced emergency workers to evacuate more than 200 homes last night.

Family beat back fire

Mahia couple Colin and Raewyn Jane used wet sacks and buckets of water to beat down flames leaping toward their family home as a wind- fed fire ripped across a huge tract of the coast.

Mahia fire evacuations

A big scrub fire forced the evacuation of six homes near Mahia Beach, south of Gisborne.

Fire threatens forest and homes

Just 12 hours out from the start of a total fire ban in Hawke's Bay, firefighters feared the potential nightmare which prompted the emergency move may havestarted.

Fire risk burning issue in north

Four fires were deliberately lit in one day just days after the Far North District Council declared a prohibited fire season.

Fire teen referred to youth aid

A Rotorua teenager has been referred to the police youth aid section after being accused of deliberately lighting a fire at an Owhata house.

Seven have lucky escape from suspicious fire

A Rotorua family of seven has had a lucky escape from a suspicious fire in their home.

Police investigate suspicious fires

Police are investigating a series of suspicious blazes that stretched fire crews in Invercargill yesterday.

Tracks closed in tinder dry Hanmer Springs area

More recreation tracks are being closed in rare fire-safety measures after a second big blaze at Hanmer Springs.

Fires sparked by dragged boat trailer

A boat trailer which broke free from its tow-bar caused two fires which closed State Highway 1 south of Oamaru for about two hours yesterday.

Historic building fire protection 'not' trust responsibility

Despite the destruction of about 15 historic buildings each year in New Zealand from fire, protection for them is up to the owners and local authorities, says the area manager of the Historic Places Trust.

Public trust fund started for East Coast family

The family of an East Coast fire and ambulance volunteer killed on the job last month has had a trust fund created for it by the Gisborne District Council.

Fire puts an end to new start

A family lost everything in a house fire yesterday -- except a wedding dress that had been sent off to have its hem sewn.

Firefighters save old building

The quick response of firefighters saved a category two historic building in Arrowtown, and others near it, from being destroyed by fire last night.

Boiler scare at fertiliser factory

Ravensdown Fertiliser factory near Napier was cordoned off this morning as Fire Service called to overheated boiler

Teenager charged with arson after fatal house fire

A 16-year-old girl will appear in court today charged with the arson of a south Auckland house which left a woman dead.

Five taken to hospital after Fonterra factory explosion

Five people have been taken to hospital after an explosion and chemical leak at a factory in Southland this morning.

Move extinguishes Burns legend

It sounds like some sort of fire-safety message: Where there's fire, there's Burns.

Fire Warning as Northland Bakes

A hotter than normal summer has sent the mercury rising and those who light illegal fires in Northland could find themselves paying hefty fines and clean-up costs.

Camp blaze 'suspicious'

A fire which burnt about 500sq m of Department of Conservation land on the Karikari Peninsula appeared to be centred at a camp site.

Car chase heard all over city

A car which was being pursued by police and ended up slamming into a Norfolk pine on SH2 last night had been spotted by bystanders hitting speeds estimated at up to 150km/h just minutes earlier.

Father of two daughters who died in house fire discharged

The 50-year-old man who lost two daughters in a house fire which claimed four lives in south Auckland last Monday has been discharged from hospital. Misi Sau was given the all-clear today, but his 19-year-old step-son is still in intensive care in a stable condition at Middlemore Hospital.

Fire destroys home of South African consul

Former Race Relations conciliator Gregory Fortuin arrived home from overseas last night to a pile of charred rubble where his family home of 20 years once stood.

48 Years on, veteran firemen rally to help battle the big one

It was a serious case of deja vu for two retired Dargaville firefighters when four buildings in the town went up in flames on Monday night.

Smoke alarm project targets at-risk families

Christchurch's "unacceptable" lack of smoke alarms in homes has prompted the Fire Service to give alarms to at-risk families.

Shocked community remembers young victims

The four children who died in one of the worst house fire tragedies in many years have been remembered at an emotional service in front of their burnt out house.

Lack of sprinkler systems a concern in Dargaville

Fire fighters say sprinkler systems would have lessened damage to Dargaville shops razed by fire; investigations into cause continue

Fire destroys several shops in Dargaville

A fire destroyed several shops in the Northland town of Dargaville on Monday night.

Parents beaten back by heat and smoke in bid to save children

Two panic-stricken parents were beaten back by intense heat and flames as they fought desperately to save four children in their burning house today, not knowing they were probably already dead.

Four young lives needlessly lost in house fire inferno

The tragic loss of life in an Auckland house fire today should serve as a powerful reminder to New Zealanders to take responsibility around fire safety to protect themselves and their family.

Fire destroys 200HA of Awarua Wetlands

About 200 hectares of the internationally recognised Awarua wetlands has been destroyed by a fire that started a week ago, the rural fire service said.

Neighbour saves woman from fire

A Tauranga man is today being praised a hero after valiantly saving the life of an elderly neighbour whose kitchen caught fire in the early hours of this morning.