The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine

The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine

February 2008

The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine



February 2008

Issue No. 37

Fire & Rescue is the flagship

publication of the New Zealand

Fire Service.

It is produced by Media,

Promotions and Communications,

National Headquarters,

Level 9, 80 The Terrace, Wellington.

Front Cover: Kinleith Pulp & Paper Mill

resembles a warzone as firefighters

combat the inferno.

Back Cover: Patea Freezing Works

resemble Kinleith and can be seen from

miles away.

We welcome contributions from

Fire Service personnel and their families.

Email stories and digital pictures to:

(Pictures need to be at least 1MB)

Post written material and celluloid

photos, or photo CDs to:

Fire & Rescue magazine,

PO Box 2133, Wellington.

(These will be returned on request)

If you have a story idea or an upcoming

event you would like Fire & Rescue to

cover, call the editor on (04) 496 3675.

Fire & Rescue is online at:

ISSN: 1176-6670

All material in Fire & Rescue magazine is

copyrighted and may not be reproduced

without the permission of the editor.


9 12

Fire Eduction Out of the frying pan ........................................................................3

Sun Smart When the heat is on..........................................................................4

IT Better information access for all .................................................5

Fleet Flying high in Gisborne ......................................................................6

Fire Films Where’s the smoke? ...........................................................................7

Awards Brotherly love .........................................................................................8


Kudos for Te Kopuru ...........................................................................9

Other News Coming through loud and clear ................................................10

Conference UFBA get together ...........................................................................11

Training ... Even though I’m Blue .................................................................12

Incidents Timber inferno ....................................................................................14

Marlborough burns ..........................................................................15

Power to the people ........................................................................15

Poi E no more .....................................................................................16

Industry troubles ................................................................................17

Training for fire ...................................................................................18

Great bales of fire ............................................................................18

Survival of the fittest .......................................................................19

In the Community Adam’s ride with Red Watch .....................................................20

Fun & Games Fun razor................................................................................................21

Rich in rewards ...................................................................................21

Fun for all ..............................................................................................22

Hoop dreams ......................................................................................22

Service A kauri among Northlanders .....................................................23



By FSO Nella Booth

Out of the frying pan

GPK is a popular restaurant

situated in the centre of

Takapuna’s thriving bar

and café scene. So when

they experienced a kitchen

fire recently, the impact

was keenly felt by the

local industry. We knew

this would be a great

opportunity to show

restaurant owners and

kitchen staff the dramatic

consequences of a kitchen

fire – not just in damage

but in lost turnover.

With this in mind, we

sought the permission of

the owner and the insurance


Later that week, Grant

Mitcheson from Birkenhead

Blue Watch and his crew

went door to door to all the

local restaurants, handing

out invitations to an ‘Open

Restaurant.’ The event was

due to start at 1500. But well before

this, there was a number of staff

from other restaurants waiting at the

front door. Throughout the afternoon,

a steady stream of interested and

concerned kitchen staff and managers

filed through.

Many asked if they could send others

along the next day as a different

group of staff would then be at work.

It was arranged to repeat the event

the next afternoon at the same time.

The ‘open restaurant’ messages

included what led up to the fire and

how it developed so rapidly. We then

explained how the fire could have

been avoided in the first place and

also gave tips on good housekeeping

to make their workplace safer.

GPK Owner Dominique Parat

who opened up his fire damaged

restaurant as an educational tool.

This fire started in a flaming pan

which was put onto a rack close to the

extractor fan so smoke didn’t fill the

kitchen. Unfortunately, the flames

from the pan were sucked into the

extractor hood through the oily filters.

The flames then engulfed the whole

extractor ducting running through the

kitchen and past the toilet doors

before exiting through the roof. When

the fans stopped, the fire billowed

back down into the kitchen. The

restaurant was full of diners and the

fire spread was extremely quick.

Fortunately so was the response –

reports have it at three minutes from

frying pan to Fire Service arrival.

Over the two days all 19 restaurants

approached sent people to see the

damage. With a total of 68 attendees,

Fire Education

A fire in Takapuna prompted Auckland Region’s Promotions and Education Department

to hold an Open Home with a twist – in a restaurant!

we felt that it was well worthwhile

and it will prevent more of the same

type of fires occurring. The local press

ran a story highlighting the damage

and how the Promotions and

Education Department made it into a

learning event.

Senior Fire Safety Officer Mike

McEnaney said it was “really pleasing

to see so many restaurant staff turn

out. It clearly shows a willingness to

avoid a repeat performance.”

As far as we are aware, nothing

like this has been attempted before

in Auckland in commercial premises

but the value of the exercise

means we will be looking at other

similar opportunities throughout

the Region.

The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine February 2008 3

Photo courtesy North Shore Times 3

By Phil De Joux

When the heat is on

Keeping safe under the sun’s rays is imperative and one brigade is leading the charge.

Twizel Fire Brigade is a Sun Smart brigade. The Twizel

area has one of the highest sunshine hours in the country

and summer temperatures are regularly in the 30s.

In areas like this, the UV rating can be extreme and

protection from the sun’s rays is imperative.

As part of the brigade’s sun smart strategies, members

are required to wear their Fire Service sun hats whenever

they are working outside except when level 2 gear is

required. They are also encouraged to use an effective

sun screen (SPF 30+) on bare skin at these times. Safety

sunglasses are also an important part of the strategy and

these have been issued to brigade members.

4 Issue No. 37

Sun Smart

Twizel Fire fighters Russell Warwood,

Evan Lousley, Andrew McCambridge, and

Daniel Connolly with their sun-smart tools.

Recently the brigade was working at a large scrub fire on

Mt Cook Station for several days. CFO John Hill reported

that nearly 1.5 litres of sunscreen was used over that

period and more supplies were rapidly requested.

VSO Phil de Joux says that if we can prevent one brigade

member from developing skin cancer later in life, then the

exercise will have been worth it. All brigades in Transalpine

Fire Region have been issued with tubes of SPF 30+

sunscreen and members are also encouraged to consult

their local doctor over any unusual freckle, mole, sunspot

or unhealing sore on their skin.

Twizel Fire fighters Russell Warwood, Evan

Lousley, Andrew McCambridge, and Daniel

Connolly with their sun-smart tools.

The first noticeable change will be a new search tool on

our existing Firenet website which will be delivered in

March 2008. This new search functionality will be

more intuitive, it will be similar to Google’s search engine

and provide you with results that show your search

strings in context.

Debby Murphy said that this will be followed by a review

of the content and layout of both sites. The review of

Firenet will require those involved in maintaining content

in the regions to help identify how it can be improved.

There will be some significant changes to Firenet and our

external website over the next year thanks to the introduction

of a new tool, MOSS (Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server)

and the employment of Debby Murphy, the Fire Service’s

new Info and Content developer.

Not only will MOSS improve our Content Management

capability for the web, it will also allow us to address a

number of business needs over time including:

≥ Public Records Act compliance

≥ Enterprise Search

≥ easy access to building related information

≥ a common store for things like Operational Readiness

Audits, Operational Reviews, Serious and Unusual

Incident Reviews, and Fire Investigations,

≥ improved tools for collaboration internally as well as

with other organisations.

Keep an eye on Firenet where we will k eep you posted as the changes are introduced.

The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine

Info and






February 2008


Flying high

in Gisborne

Training and testing permitting, Gisborne’s first aerial

appliance should be on the road in April.

SFF George Clarke checks out

the new appliance.

By Kerry Marshall

DCFO John Haggland said the new Bronto appliance would provide the

capability to deal with incidents in hi-rise buildings in the Gisborne CBD.

Currently the closest aerial appliance is in Napier and would take several

hours to arrive if required.

The Bronto is the latest model and

crews would go through intensive

training while the appliance was

kitted out. Drivers will have plenty

of road time getting used to the

larger and longer unit. The new

Gisborne station however is ready

to go as it was designed with

new appliances like this in mind –

big doors, plenty of space and a

large apron.

Very soon Gisborne residents will

be used to the sight of the new

Gisborne 814 appliance responding

to emergencies.

6 Issue No. 37


Where’s the smoke?

There are a plethora of films out there to do with

firefighters and fire in general. Periodically we will be

watching these films and reviewing them. Both from

a theatrical position but also from a plausibility

point of view – do the actors portraying firefighters

give off a realistic air? Is the fire done properly?

If you know of any good fire films, please email

them to us on

This month’s film will be the first film anyone thinks of

when asked to name a firefighter film, Backdraft.

Made in 1991 and starring Kurt Russel, William Baldwin

and Robert De Niro, Backdraft tells the story of two

brothers – Stephen and Brian McCaffrey who lost their

father in a fire in the 1970s. Following in their father’s

footsteps the two grow up to be firefighters at the same

station, but here’s the kicker, they’re rivals! They don’t

get on, at all.

The two are forced to lay their differences aside when a

serial arsonist strikes Chicago, he’s already killed three

people, maimed a firefighter and personally attacked

Brian. Can the brothers put aside their differences to

save the day?

On to the review:

The attention to realism is…non-existent. Firstly, Stephen

McCaffrey enters every single fire without a BA, his coat

is open, and he goes skipping into the heart of the fire –

often by himself – regularly. They break open doors by

standing in front of them and they don’t check to see

if they’re hot. Perhaps most amusingly, all fires have

a definite lack of smoke. Understandably this was done

to ensure we could see the actors, though it does

look ridiculous.

The acting itself is good by the leads, William Baldwin

and Kurt Russell put in good performances as the rival

brothers and there seemed to be some genuine animosity

between the two. Robert De Niro was hardly used and

his character seemed a bit mysterious for mysterious’ sake

whilst no-one else really played a major role to be

considered – though special mention must go to Jennifer

Jason-Leigh whose performance as William Baldwin’s

love interest is hopelessly bad.

In terms of a plot it’s pretty sharp. As mentioned above

the brothers fight fires and an arsonist and fight each

other. Novel! It doesn’t get boring and at a tick over two

hours the length is substantial without being onerous.

From a film point of view, 3.5 out of 5, from a realism

point of view 1 out of 5 giving it an average score of

2 ¼ out of 5.

Fire Films

The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine February 2008


Brotherly Love

SO Doug Flowerday hands Che his

certificate with a proud Dakota nearby,

supported by (l-r) SFF Barry Baxter,

SFF Glenn Hudson and SFF Ian Clark.

He’s lucky that Che paid a visit to the Masterton Fire

Station early last year and he’s lucky that Che paid

attention. For Dakota is an adventurous, inquisitive little

tyke and has a tendency to go investigating.

Two year old Dakota, accompanied by his blanket,

clambered to the top of the stove and started turning

knobs. Wearing pyjamas that were fire retardant but not

fire proof Dakota’s pyjamas soon ignited.

Che, who is seven years old, remembered the Firewise

lessons he’d received on his visit to the Masterton Fire

Station, grabbed Che and rolled him over to put the fire out.

DCFO Henry Stechman told the Wairarapa Times that

had the clothing not been fire retardant it could’ve

8 Issue No. 37


Dakota Marunui is a lucky boy.

He’s lucky that he’s got a brother like Che.

completely burst into flames. He commended the

older brother’s ability to take the right course of action

under pressure.

“It’s absolutely fantastic that the young fellow had

the knowledge to put into practice what he had learnt,”

says Mr Stechman.

Station officer Doug Flowerday said it was good to see

the Firewise message getting through and Che might make

a good fireman one day. It’s heartening to see that the

stop, drop and roll message is still used.

Dakota’s mother says Dakota has learned his lesson now

and despite still showing a tendency to climb things,

he’s steering well clear of the oven.

Picture courtesy of Wairarapa Times

Kudos for Te Kopuru

National Commander

Mike Hall visited Te Kopuru

recently to personally

present the brigade with

an Award of Commendation

for their efforts during

Northland’s devastating

floods last year.

Northland brigades were out in

force while floods in March and

July wreaked havoc in the region.

The award acknowledged Te Kopuru

brigade’s achievements, particularly

those of Barbara Searle, Kevin

Morgan, Liz Wood and Patrick

McDavitt, who worked a 24 hour

duty and used a 4WD and an

inflatable boat to rescue people from

homes and stranded cars in the

Hikurangi, Hukerenui, Kawakawa

and Waikare Inlet areas.

In presenting the award, Mike said it

was the least he could do as National

Commander to get out and thank the

volunteers as often as his schedule


Farmer Jan Beatty looks to rescue two

stranded cows on her swamped farm

in Tangiteroria in Northland, July 2007.


Pictured, from left: National Commander

Mike Hall, FF Barbara Searle, FF Kevin Morgan,

FF Patrick McDavitt, FF John Plaisted (Fire Brigade

rep on the Coastguard), CFO Leon Searle

and FF Liz Wood.

He said the more he travels into

country areas, the more he realises

the NZFS is no longer a fire service,

but a general fire and rescue

emergency service.

“When the chips are down and

there’s no-one else to do it, you’re

out there!”

Mike also acknowledged the

community’s support of its brigade.

“Volunteer Fire Brigades are pivotal

to their communities. This country

just couldn’t function without its

volunteer firefighters, and there is

no clearer example of that than

this brigade.”

CFO Leon Searle accepted the plaque

on behalf of Te Kopuru brigade, and

told his firefighters that their

teamwork has made his job as Chief

so much easier.

The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine February 2008



through loud

and clear

On January 29, the Northern

Comcen’s modernisation

project was completed and

a Whakatau* was held to


The day marked the end of a

substantial project that saw some

significant changes happen inside the

Communications Centre. Deputy

Commissioner Rob Pope from the

Police and National Commander

Mike Hall from the Fire Service were

both in attendance as the refurbished

centre was welcomed and blessed.

10 Issue No. 37

Other News

New furniture, new fittings with

modern electric desks that allow

communicators to be standing up or

sitting down at their work stations, a

new breakout room for staff to get

some R&R in; the refit had it all.

The new work stations formed

‘pods’ – which lend themselves to a

far better working environment.

Driven from a recent Communication

Centre review carried out by Police,

requiring more seats to be

accommodated into the centre, the

new communicator pods and

refurbishment has allowed Police to

increase their number of seats in the

centre by 17 and Fire Service to

increase theirs by one.

Left, Police Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope

and National Commander Mike Hall inspect

the new changes at the Northern Comcen.

The project was managed by the

Police with total consultation with

communication centre manager

Peter Stevenson who was part of the

project committee.

Director of Strategic Development,

Ian Pickard was really proud of the

staff in the comcen. “The project

was carried out while we maintained

full operational duties, project

engineers worked really hard to

restrict noise and disturbance but as

it was a complete refit, allowances

had to be made. My hearty thanks

go to the duty staff for their

understanding and cooperation”.

* A Whakatau is a less formal Powhiri –

which is an official welcoming

UFBA get together

In the middle of March the Richmond VFB will host the annual UFBA Conference

and associated Challenges.

The 129th annual UFBA Conference

will run from 16–18 March. It will

be held at the Trafalgar Centre in

Nelson and will see senior volunteer

officers from all over the country

convene in one place to be brought

up to date on a variety of Fire Service

related topics.

The week proceeding the conference

is also packed with activity.

On the 14th and 15th of March,

the A&P Showgrounds in Richmond

will host the National Road Crash

Rescue Challenge. 13 teams from

all over New Zealand will compete

in three categories to safely and

expediently extricate live victims

from crushed cars. The teams

qualified by competing at Regional

RCR Challenges held late last year

and winners from the National event

will qualify to represent New Zealand

at the Australasian Road Crash

Rescue Challenge in Australia later

in the year.

The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine

On the 15th, the National Firefighter

Combat Challenge will also be held

at the A&P Showgrounds in

Richmond. This exciting event,

known as the “toughest two minutes

in sport” will have over 150 people

competing in several different

Firefighters getting into the Australasian Road

Crash Rescue Challenge in Perth last year.


Two firefighters taking part in the recent

Christchurch Combat Challenge.

categories including an open male

and female section, over 40’s, over

50’s and also two team categories.

Top qualifiers from this event have

the opportunity to be selected to

travel to Las Vegas later in the

year to represent New Zealand at

the World Firefighter Combat


The last major event being held

in Richmond, but certainly not

the least, is the hugely popular

Staying Alive Expo. A schools’

programme has been organised

for the 13th and 15th of March

with over 2,500 school children

already booked in to participate.

The event will be open to the

public on the 15th with a crowd

of well over 10,000 expected.

April’s Fire & Rescue magazine

will have all the results from the

National events being held in

Richmond, Nelson.

February 2008




I’m Blue

Recently, Papatoetoe Brown Watch’s Ange Munro, Ian Tanner and Rochelle Martin took part

12 Issue No. 37


Blue’s captain Troy

Flavell gets to grip

with a branch.

Ange Munro issues

some firm orders

to members of the

Blues training squad.

Given her record of achievement over the last 12 months,

Ange was ideally placed to put the team through its paces.

Ange picks up the story…

The day started with a trip to Mt Wellington to pick

up loads of gear: two appliances, a 30 x 70mm hose, a

10 x 45mm hose, stoke baskets, bucket lines and a few

odds and ends. We then headed off to Unitech where the

Blues have their training grounds and facilities.

The Blues squad was divided into three teams of

7-9 guys. First they did a warm up activity, I got them

carrying a stokes basket with a team member in it

around a set course. This course involved running up

hills, crossing a stream, running up and down stairs and

a lot of running around grass areas. Four team members

had to wear BA sets.

Next was the Combat Course. We had set up three courses

so the teams could race against each other one at a time.

The Combat Course I set up for them had them running

up a 15m hill with a 15kg riser hose over their

shoulder, hauling up a 20kg foam drum from the bottom,

racing down the hill and on to a force machine, moving a

sleeper 1m with a 5kg sledgehammer, running 20m to a

charged delivery, running out the delivery, shooting at a

target 10m away and finishing with a 30m dummy drag.

The dummy weighed 90kg. Also this was all done while

the guys wore BA sets – with the good old steel cylinders

of course!

Last of all the teams did a water relay. They had to

establish a delivery of 8 lengths and then shoot a target

as quickly as possible.

The Combat course really shocked a few. Even though

they are really fit sportsmen, the extra weight on their

back and the labour intensive type activities like the

sledgehammer hitting, really took its toll on some.

The Combat Course is a different type of fitness and

many players learned that.

There was a lot of good-natured ribbing between

players, and some funny moments when the guys missed

the target with the hose or lost control of the hose

because of the jet reaction! Even coaches David Nucifora

and Greg Cooper had a go.

The Blues players were really into the whole day

going hard out and cheering each other on! It was just

awesome to watch. They were also very friendly and very

polite, Kevin Mealamu and Justin Collins fast became

my favourites!

Ian and Rochelle were such a huge help, making it a really

great day. C’mon the Blues!

in a very special training day. Not for new recruits but for the 2008 Auckland Blues squad.

The whole squad plus Ange,

Ian and Rochelle.


Prop Nick White gets reeling.

Jo Bradford, a lifeguard, tries the

physical pre-entry test demo

The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine February 2008


14 Issue No. 37




In a portent of what was to come for NZ industry over

the coming weeks, a timber factory in Blenheim was

severely damaged in a serious fire.

On January 14, Flight Timbers in Blenheim went up in a blaze that required the

attention of 30 firefighters, seven appliances and four tankers. Despite such a big

response the fire continued to rage for a number of hours – meaning firefighters

were still dampening down hotspots throughout the next day.

Flight Timbers is one of the major saw mills in the Marlborough district and the

losses caused by the fire will run into millions of dollars, says Flight Timbers

chairman Rick Osborne. The damage would cut the plant’s turnover by 25 per cent,

but fortunately, the company intend keeping all its 80 staff, he said.

The fire was the biggest the region’s firefighters have had to battle since a

blaze destroyed a cheese factory at Tua Marina in 2004, said Blenheim

Volunteer Fire Brigade station officer Paul Fuller.

It’s understood the fire was caused when a wood chip

got stuck in hot equipment. From there

it all went up in flames.

Marlborough burns

The fire season started good

and proper over the summer

break for the South Island as

this image shows.

In the deep-south, near a small township

called Clinton, a truck toppled over into

a ditch – in the process it came mighty

close to some overhead power lines.

The power-lines were live with

33,000 volts coursing through the

top line and 11,000 the bottom.

Kevin Jopson from Meridian Energy

called the Fire Service after he grew

concerned about the little pole just

behind the fallen truck.

The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine

A loud crack as lightning rocketed

into a pine forest in Marlborough

was enough to set this particular

blaze off and destroy 27ha of land

near Koromiko. Emergency Services

Manager for the Marlborough

District, Ross Hamilton, said it had

been very difficult to battle. “It’s not

easy country to get on; it’s a steep

bloody hill, so it’s all pumps and

small hoses and stuff like that.”

“My main concern was that someone

could have walked into the lines

while checking the truck. And if one

of the insulators on the 11kV line

broke, the line would have come into

contact with the live 33kV line and

the sparks could easily have started


Resident Les Russell was evacuated

from his home as the flames got to

within 50m of his house. He told the

media “It was a bit stressful as the

fire came up close behind the house

but the fire guys are doing a great job

– they saved our house”.

The forest was on a mix of private

land and Marlborough Forest owned

by the Marlborough and Kaikoura

district councils.

a fire in the dry grass with no readily

available water source.”

Displaying fine fight or flight skills,

the driver escaped unharmed sliding

out the passenger door to get out.

February 2008


Poi E no more...

It was opened in 1883 and provided employment for over 1,000 people in peak season.

But when it shut down 100 years later, the Patea Freezing Works soon became known as

a health hazard, an eyesore and blamed by Patea residents for being partly responsible

for the decline in their property values.

Riddled with asbestos cladding and

insulation, chemicals, heavy metals,

boiler ash dumps and rusting fuel

storage tanks, it’s no surprise that

when it caught fire on February 5,

an environmental hazard was


The fire, which is now suspected as

arson, quickly took hold and when

firefighters first arrived they found

two large buildings and an area of

scrub already well alight.

Constable Kerry Daly, of the Patea

Police, said it was believed a number

of fires were lit around the derelict

building and fire investigators would

examine the scene.

16 Issue No. 37


It wasn’t just the fire that was causing

headaches for those on scene either.

When the asbestos laden smoke

started drifting towards an area

populated by 300 residents (25% of

the township), they were evacuated

from their houses and it wasn’t until

February 11 that they were allowed

to return.

Fire crews from around the region

spent the weekend after Waitangi

Day washing down Patea homes.

AFRC Pat Fitzell said the washing

went ahead, despite dust in the town

being cleared of asbestos. “It’s just

really peace of mind for the residents

We were looking at the closest houses,

but we thought it was best to do the

whole town.”

While fire crews finished dampening

down hotspots, water was still being

sprayed on the site from irrigation

hose to keep the area damp

The Patea Freezing Works will be

best remembered, however, as the

inspiration behind Dalvanius Prime’s

song Poi E. Performed by the Patea

Ma - ori Club, the song reached

number 1 in the New Zealand charts

where it stayed for four weeks and

created an international sensation.

Photo courtesy of the Taranaki Daily News

Industry troubles

It’s been the grand old lady of Tokoroa’s skyline

since 1953. It’s the area’s biggest employer

with some 450 employees and 280 additional

subcontractors, and it was named after a river

that flows through Edinburgh, Scotland. It’s the

Kinleith Pulp and Paper mill, and on February 5

it became the biggest fire New Zealand has

seen in a number of years.

On the afternoon of the 5 th , 19 appliances from

Hamilton, Rotorua and Taupo all made a bee-line for

Tokoroa to help fight what was fast becoming a

serious inferno. Add to that a helicopter with a monsoon

bucket and around 80 firefighters and you realise the

seriousness of the blaze. How many sixth alarms have

there been lately?

A Kinleith worker said the fire was in off-cuts from rolls

of paper produced by the mill destined for recycling.

Because of water shortages, firefighters took water from

nearby ponds. Tinder-dry conditions and strong winds

made matters worse.

Tokoroa CFO Ian Wellings said his team arrived shortly

after the Kinleith Fire Service and that it was every man

to post when they arrived onsite. “It was pretty daunting

with all that paper fully enveloped by fire and we knew it

was going to be a long job.”


Rotorua’s Type Four helps

put out the hotspots.

The huge stacks of paper provided

plenty of fuel for the inferno.

Jaron Phillips from the Northern Comcen said the fire

caused two injuries. “A member of the public was taken

to hospital suffering burns to their neck, and a firefighter

was transported to hospital suffering from dehydration

and smoke inhalation.” Both men were taken to hospital

and have since been released.

At the time of print, Taupo DCFO Des Irving said it

would not be known what started the fire at the Carter

Holt Harvey owned mill. “We don’t know the actual

cause but we can say at this stage that it does not

look suspicious.

The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine February 2008


More than 50 building

industry trainees were left

looking for a new place of

work after a fire razed the

G & H Training base in Napier

on January 22 this year.

Training for fire

1500 square metres of buildings

were brought to the ground by

the third alarm fire in Onekawa.

11 appliances were called out with

Napier, Hastings and Bay View

stations supplying manpower.

DCFO Collin Littlewood, who

could see the fire in the sky as he

was summoned from his home at

Te Awanga, said it took more than

an hour to get the flames under

control. He said that at its peak there

were 40 firefighters battling the blaze.

There was quite a large plume of

smoke and flame, and firefighters

were hampered by the gas cylinders

inside the buildings.”

Great bales of fire

Firefighters in Invercargill

were called to the fire on

the back of a truck on

January 9.

The fire is believed to have started

from a spark in the exhaust pipe,

although the plank of wood resting

on the red-hot exhaust pipe and

touching the hay bales wouldn’t

have been helpful.

The owner of the truck, Mr Brian

Neas – a contractor – said the hay

bales had a value $4500. “I had an

invoice sitting written out in the

truck.” All 650 bales and the truck

were destroyed though Mr Neas

was insured.

18 Issue No. 37


Photo courtesy of Southland Times

Facing several explosions as gas

cylinders erupted in the blaze, he said

the fulltime and volunteer firefighters

did a great job stopping the fire from

spreading to other sites in the

industrial district.

G & H Training Operations Manager

Steve Smithers, who arrived as the

roof was collapsing, said that as well

as all of the machinery and electronic

equipment lost in the fire, trainees

would have lost some property,

including tools.

Thanks to a positive effort from

several Hawke’s Bay businesses, a

new location has been found and

renovation has begun meaning that

all students will be welcomed back a

mere two weeks after the fire.

What you are looking at is a smoke alarm melted beyond recognition

but still able to chirp. It was taken from a serious house fire in Ascot Park, Porirua

(just north of Wellington) on 17 December. The fire was attended by six appliances.

Survival of the fittest

Porirua District SSO Trevor Sheehan said that firefighters

combing through the charred debris of the Porirua house

discovered the only item that survived the intense heat

was a smoke alarm – still beeping.

“As we did our final checks through what remained of

the house we heard a smoke alarm beeping from under

the ashes on the bedroom floor. The plastic was all melted

off but the battery and internal unit were working fine”.

The fire would have reached up to 1000 degrees in

some parts” Trevor said. “It’s fortunate that no one

was killed”.

As it was, a man and a child were injured in the blaze and

taken to the hospital with serious burns, two other

children were saved.

The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine


SSO Trevor Sheehan holding

the tough little alarm in front

of the fire damaged house.

It is suspected that the cause of the blaze was children

playing with matches.

“It’s a timely reminder that smoke alarms are crucial and

that it would have been so much worse had it not been

for the alarm.

“I can’t stress enough how important it is to install smoke

alarms – they have saved countless lives. The fire here did

$100,000 worth of damage – not including contents.

Fortunately no one was killed in this case thanks to the

smoke alarm alerting the adult to the fire,” said Trevor.

“Of course, sprinklers would have saved the home and

the family’s precious contents and that’s what we’ll be

encouraging when a new home is built on the site.”

February 2008


Story and pictures by Maria Cowin

Adam’s ride with

Red Watch

Adam Bain is 17 years old. He draws

and draws. His mum Paula says he goes

through two reams of paper a week.

Adam is autistic. Diagnosed at a very

young age, Adam has had his share

of social and learning difficulties, but

like many other autistic people Adam

has phenomenal recall. Most of what

he draws he does from memory.

When Adam and his mum took

the young artist’s detail-perfect

impression of Whangarei Station’s

Bronto into Reception at Region,

Soraya Governor (Admin Support)

was amazed at the likeness. Adam

had seen the Bronto parked up at a

training day and had also studied it

as it passed through town a couple of

times on the way to turnouts.

Paula said Adam had actually been

reluctant to take his artwork in at all,

he didn’t think it was good enough.

He wanted to do better.

20 Issue No. 37

In the Community

On December 8,

Whangarei’s Red

Wa t c h i n v i t e d

Adam to the station

for a ride on the Bronto he had


Some of the guys rostered on for Red

Watch—Wipari, Rhys, Stu, Adam,

and Scott, “grilled” the 17 year old

about licence plates on appliances

around Northland, the make and

model of the engines, the appliance

numbers, and where an appliance

had been stationed previously.

Without missing a beat Adam rattled

off the information, almost always

correct, and often providing unknown


They even tried to catch him out.

“We’ve got a new van,” said one.

From left: SSO Wipari Henwood, SFF Adam

Anderson, Adam Bain and his dad Adrian,

SFF Rhys Wirihana and SFF Stu Pearson.

“I bet you don’t know what that is?”

“Well, actually I do, it’s a ....” said

Adam, firing off the licence plate

number, make and model of the van,

transmission, and place of origin.

He remained non-plussed, seemingly

oblivious of just how impressed the

crew were..

Adam collects fire service memorabilia

(he has more than 2,000 pieces)

and is an avid fan of all things related

to the Fire Service.

So this chance to meet some of his

heroes, ride on the Bronto, and spend

time at Whangarei Station was an

experience Adams’ dad, Adrian, says

he will treasure forever.

Five Te Puke

volunteer firefighters

went under the razor

recently to raise funds for

the Child Cancer Foundation.

Rich in rewards

The New Zealand Fire Service has won

award after award for promoting safety.

Here’s one more.

The Richmond Volunteer Brigade in conjunction

with Summit Rescue Helicopters and St John

Ambulance won the Reserve Champion Outdoor

Large Trade exhibit award at the A & P Show

held in Richmond on November 24 and 25.

Richmond SO Nigel Lammas said the show was

a great opportunity for the public to see what

rescue services actually do when they are called

to an incident.

“We did a cut-out demonstration which got

a great response. It was also an excellent

opportunity to raise firewise awareness for all

people young and old”.

The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine

Te Puke volunteer firefighters Lance Taylor, Scott Taylor,

Wayne Bain, Sam Murdie and Steve Hennum sporting

shaved heads in support of Child Cancer.

Fun & Games

By Alana Tierney

The cause was particularly special for SFF Sam Murdie. Sam, who also works

as a career firefighter with the Tauranga Fire Service, had her head shaved in

support of a close friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

More than $21,000 was raised for child cancer by Police, St John’s Ambulance

and the Fire Service across Tauranga and the Western Bay for the Funrazor

event held at the Tauranga Historic Village on Saturday 15 December 2007.

Members of the Richmond Volunteer Fire

Brigade with the St John’s Ambulance and

Summit Helicopter crews and their award.

February 2008


West of the Manawatu Gorge and at the southern end of the Pohangina

Valley is the township of Ashhurst. Recently, the local brigade made a special

effort to save the local kids from any holiday boredom with a school holiday programme.

Fun for all

By AFRC Mitchell Brown

This fun day offered the local kids the chance to experience

“operational firefighting skills” in the safety of the yard

at the rear of the Ashhurst Fire Station.

Volunteer Firefighter Simon Barton, who works in

Palmerston North as the Manager of the Manawatu

YMCA, says that the day was initiated to offer the YMCA

kids home fire safety information. As a part of the

programme Simon delivered a practical session and

firefighters Neil Foot and Paul Neadley presented the onstation

segment of the day.

As part of these activities, the kids were introduced to the

equipment carried on the appliance, given a demonstration

of it and shown the firefighters protective clothing for

attending incidents as well as breathing apparatus.

The final session of the day allowed the kids to experience

the ‘Firefighter Olympics’ with hose handling and target

shooting in the back yard of the station.

Simon remarked “Fire safety, firefighter equipment and

firefighter olympics for kids made the messages stick with

smiles aplenty!”

Hoop dreams

22 Issue No. 37

Fun & Games

Action from last year’s tournament.

By Gareth Hughes

The 2007 National Basketball tournament was hosted by

the Marton fire brigade and was attended by nine teams

with both career and volunteer firefighters taking part.

The tournament covered all abilities with a Social grade,

an A grade and a Premier grade. All games were hotly

contested with some great matches played out.

The tournament was played over two days of competition,

and as is the case with tournaments of this type a lot of

socialising took place! Wellington emerged as the Premier

Grade champions but a great time was had by all.

This year it will be held at the Wellington Basketball Club.

We’re ably backed by a committee dedicated to providing a

professional, well run tournament. Venues are all booked

and plenty of evening entertainment and refreshments are

on the cards.

So dust off the old b-ball boots, get practicing and enter a

team to compete this September 26th and 27th. More details

to come, so watch this space.

A Kauri among


It’s been said that heroes are born, not made. There is humility among people regarded as heroes.

They see nothing special in what they do, ask for nothing in return for their giving, and insist others

would do the same given the chance. But the rest of us know that isn’t true.

Story and pictures by Maria Cowin

Northland’s FRC Trevor Andrews

described 50-year medal recipient

Kaitaia CFO Terry Houghton (QSM)

as a true hero, and a kauri among


Terry was being honoured at an

awards night (“one heck of a party”)

in Kaitaia in December.

“In my campaign

I said I wouldn’t attend

every formal function, only the

really important ones. Anyone

who’s devoted half a century

to volunteer service deserves

our respect.”

Far North Mayor Wayne Brown

The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine

“A kauri has mana,

significance, importance.

Terry, you are a Kauri

among Northlanders.”

Trevor Andrews, Northland

Fire Region Commander

The 300 plus well-wishers included

Terry’s twin brother Laurie – himself

a 35-year medal recipient – other

family, friends, colleagues, fellow

volunteers, supporters and dignitaries

the likes of Dame Margaret Bazley,

Far North Mayor Wayne Brown, MP

John Carter, and Northland DCFO

Colin Thompson.

Awards were also handed out to 18

Northland firefighters for their service.


Between them these three gentlemen –

all 50 year medallists – have given more

than 150 years of volunteer service to

the New Zealand Fire Service, from left,

Arthur Drower from Tokoroa,

Terry Houghton (Kaitaia), and William

Barry “Friday” Connell from Waipu.

The feast highlighted a bounty of

Northland kaimoana – crayfish,

oysters, mussels, fish and creamed


This was a celebration of one of

Kaitaia’s finest – a true gentleman

whose generosity of spirit has no

end, and an acknowledgement of his

wife Dot who has stood proudly by

his side for so many years.

“It is important

that we recognise this

occasion as a community

occasion. It is great to see

such senior representatives

of your community here.”

Dame Margaret Bazley

February 2008


The New Zealand Fire Service Magazine

Published February 2008

By the New Zealand Fire Service

Media, Promotions & Communications

National Headquarters, Wellington

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