Weekend callouts keep firefighters busy

By Imran Ali

Multiple call-outs to property blazes kept Northland firefighters busy over the weekend.

The most serious was a fire on State Highway 1 in Waipu where a wooden house was completely gutted on Saturday morning.

Multiple calls were received by the Waipu fire brigade and firefighters spent up to five hours saving a shed attached to the property and dampening down the embers.

The homeowners were at work but their baby was being looked after by another woman at the time. Waipu chief fire officer Trevor Vaile said both managed to safely evacuate the house, although they were very shaken by the ordeal.

Mr Vaile said the house, just north of Glenmore Rd, was engulfed in flames when his crew arrived.

Two fire appliances from Waipu, two from Ruakaka, one from Maungaturoto, a water tanker from Maungaturoto and the New Zealand Refinery and volunteer support officers responded to the call-out.

Mr Vaile said it was an old weatherboard house built in the 1940s. Fire safety investigators are looking at the cause of the blaze. The Mangonui fire brigade attended to two callouts on Saturday and Sunday.

About 2.15pm on Saturday, firefighters attended to a car fire on Ramp Rd, north east of Mangonui.

Chief fire officer Peter Sainsbury said it turned out that it was a stolen car. The Holden Commodore was completely engulfed when firefighters arrived.

Just after 1am yesterday, his crews were alerted to a scrub fire on Turvey Rd but it turned out to be a structure fire.

Mr Sainsbury said the shed had no power and it appeared someone had broken into it.

Police are investigating and fire safety investigators were at the scene in the morning.

The ply and iron structure was owned by a local businessman.

In Hikurangi, just outside Whangarei, a scrub fire towards the east of Lake Waro was quickly put out by a woman before firefighters arrived.

Hikurangi deputy fire chief Trevor Gallagher said members of the public saw the fire being deliberately lit by a young man who'd be spoken to this week.

A woman visiting the lake used a hoe and crowbar to put the fire out.

Mr Gallagher said a fire prevention officer would talk to the alleged arsonist.

- Northern Advocate

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