Live power lines delay fire crew

By Mike Dinsdale

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Live power lines delayed firefighters in their attempts to put out a large shed that was ablaze.
Live power lines delayed firefighters in their attempts to put out a large shed that was ablaze.

Firefighters had to wait for the power to be cut to a large shed and sleepout that was ablaze in Kaikohe.

Kaikohe Chief Fire Officer Bill Hutchinson said the shed, measuring about five metres by eight metres, caught alight just after 5am yesterday, forcing the evacuation of two people were asleep in a sleepout. The shed also contained a workshop.

Mr Hutchinson said normally more people would have been asleep in the sleepout, including some children, but luckily they were not home when the fire started.

He said police and a Fire Safety officer are investigating the cause.

The shed was well ablaze when firefighters arrived and the shed was virtually destroyed.

"It was well involved by the time we got there, but thankfully everybody was already out," he said.

Firefighters were at the scene for more than an hour, but Mr Hutchinson said there was a delay in getting the power supply to the property cut off, so the fire could be fought safely.

"We can't send people in when there are live power lines," he said.

The fire was one of several callouts the Kaikohe brigade responded to over the long weekend.

Mr Hutchinson said the rain over the weekend has done little to solve the big dry that has led to fire restrictions.

He said with the ground so dry for so long, the torrential rain was quickly absorbed and the fire risk was now almost as high as before the storm.

"It's still very dry across Northland, so people still need to take care."

- Northern Advocate

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