Waihi RSA to work around loss of van

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Waihi RSA courtesy van has been destroyed by fire thought to have started at the battery. Photo/Stuart Whitaker
Waihi RSA courtesy van has been destroyed by fire thought to have started at the battery. Photo/Stuart Whitaker

The Waihi RSA's courtesy van has been destroyed by fire thought to have started at the battery.

The van was the only one available to the RSA and manager Barry Smith described its loss as an inconvenience rather than a disaster.

Although the organisation would have paid at least $10,000 for it, he said.

The van was used to transport people to and from the RSA and also in a welfare capacity, to take members to medical appointments.

"We use it for getting the people to and from our club. But also use it very extensivley for welfare purposes, like taking people over to Waikato Hospital, Themes Hospital, or Tauranga Hospital. For medical appointments, dropping people to hospital and then picking them back up."

A claim had been lodged with the RSA's insurance company, and in the mean time, transport to and from the club was being carried out using taxis' and a van borrowed from Waihi Beach RSA.

Another van had been offered on loan too, he said.

Mr Smith said the RSA heavily relied on having a van to transport its members around.

The original van would be used Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday to transport members to the club and regularly to transport members for hospital appointments.

The van was kept at local Ann Clark's home as there was nowhere to house it at the RSA, he said.

"It's a security thing, and she looks after it."

Ann Clark was woken around 12.30am on Monday to be told the van, parked in her driveway, was ablaze.

"A couple of guys from the mine saw it and raised me," she said.

"There was a knock at the door and I could see the orange glow. It was pretty damn scary. Then they used a hose to try and put it out until the fire brigade arrived."

Waihi Chief Fire Office Moe Stevens says the fire was centred on the battery and the tyre closest to the battery was the only one that blew.

He says two men from the Boart Longyear drilling rig saw the fire and had almost put it out with a garden hose by the time the brigade arrived.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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