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Quick response saves building from inferno

A timely alert and quick response from fire brigades saved a Kuripuni commercial building from being destroyed, the building owner has said.

Firefighters responded to the blaze at a single-storey store after being alerted to smoke billowing from the building at 5.47pm on Thursday.

Building owner David Borman said if the fire had happened even 15 minutes later, the whole building would have been lost.

“But because it happened at 5.30pm and someone saw the smoke very, very early, the fire brigade did an amazing job, and they saved it.”

Borman said the fire started in the front corner of the ceiling space, and he understood it had been caused by an electrical fault.

He said there was minimal damage to the inside of most of the stores, with two needing repairs to their ceilings and carpet, and sections of the roof.

There wasn’t major damage to the stores’ stock and all businesses were insured, Borman said.

“It could have been a hell of a lot worse.”

The building is home to retailers Evie May Shoes – which has two stores – Urban Naturals, Therapy Boutique, and DPA Chartered Accountants.

Two of the five stores affected by the fire opened by midday yesterday, while one more was expected to open by the end of the day and the final two by the end of the week, according to Borman.

“I really appreciate what the fire brigade and police did last night; they were exceptional and saved it,” Borman said.

“Also, a big thanks to the first person who called it in and all the tradespeople who are on site today.”

Fire and Emergency Wairarapa group manager Craig Cottrill said crews left the scene at about 10.30pm on Thursday after handing it over to the owner.

The investigation into the cause of the fire was completed before the handover, and fire crews attended again yesterday morning to confirm their findings.

Cottrill said the fire was not deliberately lit and was “most probably” caused by an electrical fault.

He confirmed the fire was contained in the ceiling cavity.

“The damage caused by the fire was limited to the ceiling space because of the excellent work carried out by the career and volunteer firefighters who made it to that fire in very good time.”

Grace Prior
Grace Prior
Grace Prior is a senior reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with a keen interest in environmental issues. Grace is the paper’s health reporter and regularly covers the rural sector, weather, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and coastal stories.

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