Firefighters alarmed to find blaze at station
A NEW volunteer fire station in the Canterbury region of New Zealand has been damaged by fire just months after its opening.
Rangiora firefighters were stunned on arriving at their station on Sunday evening, finding they needed to put out a blaze at their own new building after an electrical fault sparked a fire in the engine bay wall.
Chief fire officer Hamish Peter said as he pulled up just after 6pm he was shocked to see smoke pouring from the side of the station.
"When the pager went off I didn't read it properly and didn't realise the fire was at our station,” he said.
The team of 20 volunteer firefighters who responded to the pager raced to move trucks out of the building and gain access to the blaze.
Mr Peter said it was matter of good fortune the fire was spotted by one of the volunteers after the alarm failed to trigger.
"One of our brigade members was walking past the station with his son when he noticed smoke billowing out of the building,” he said.
Firefighters donned breathing apparatus to get to the fire in the wall cavity.
Peters said it was particularly difficult to reach but damage was confined to the station's engine bay.
He said the fire alarm did not trigger because the blaze had not burned through wiring.
Mr Peter said the whole experience was rather odd and definitely unique.
"I've been in the fire service for 29 years and I've never had to go to my own station for a fire,” he said.