A TAURANGA businessman has suffered a $200,000 blow after the Gisborne earthquake severely damaged a warehouse full of his stock.
Brendon Clare, owner of La Vista Sales, was yesterday cancelling his Christmas plans and investigating the damage to his Gisborne warehouse, which occurred when a water main burst and destroyed the stock.
The true extent of the damage caused by Thursday night's 6.8 magnitude earthquake was revealed in Gisborne yesterday. At least 11 people were injured, buildings had collapsed and gaping holes had opened in roads.
Mr Clare's business moved to Gisborne in March this year and with 98 per cent of the stock stored in a warehouse there, he said he was facing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.
The company imports mostly outdoor furniture and giftware, and had more than $200,000 worth of stock from Europe and Asia to pass onto retailers for summer sales.
When firefighters broke into the Gisborne warehouse overnight to switch off the alarm, they discovered a sprinkler main running across the top of the building had burst, sending 10,000 litres of water per hour onto the stock below.
Mr Clare was unsure when it was switched it off, but expected the main would have been running for about two hours. It meant 20,000 litres of pressurised water had barrelled down on nearly 4000 pieces of furniture, crushing and shredding the cardboard packaging.
"It's a blow, it's a huge blow," Mr Clare said, who was yesterday afternoon preparing to drive to Gisborne to see the damage first-hand.
"Everything was wrapped in cardboard packaging. You know what that looks like when it gets wet. The packaging has just been shredded."
Many breakable items had also been destroyed, including ceramic vases, photo frames and homeware.
"There's hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of furniture in there. In Gisborne everybody is affected," Mr Clare said.
Gisborne's central business district remained in disrepair yesterday. Many buildings have been condemned while others may have to partially close.
In a bid to salvage something from the devastating incident, Mr Clare said he would be bringing stock to Tauranga for a massive Boxing Day clearance.
"We import the top end of outdoor furniture. A lot of it is top-line aluminium. We won't be selling anything that is ruined. Not the wooden stuff that is going to swell."
Three of Mr Clare's employees were now working through the Christmas period as they helped bring the stock to a Mount Maunganui warehouse.
"One of the workers has already headed down. He came in this morning expecting to clear his desk and be out by midday. He wasn't going to come back till the seventh of January. Not any more."