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Hinakura road closure delays fire brigade’s response


A closed road delayed fire crews responding to a house fire in Hinakura. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


A fire has razed a Hinakura homestead to the ground, with road closures doubling the fire brigade’s response time.

Martinborough fire station was called to the house fire on Moeraki Rd at 3.15am yesterday but had to drive for over an hour to get to the blaze due to the huge slip closing Hinakura Rd.

Martinborough chief fire officer Jake Hawkins said before the road was closed, the drive would have taken half an hour.

“We had just got home, and the tones dropped for a structure fire out at Hinakura.

“Normally we would go the Hinakura Rd way, but that is closed, so we had to go on Admiral Rd.

“It took an hour and 10 minutes to get from Martinborough to the job, and the Carterton appliance arrived on the scene at the same time.

“Normally, that trip would take 31 minutes.”

Carterton brigade officer in charge, Wayne Robinson, said the house had been destroyed by the time fire crews arrived.

“It was a big homestead. The house was completely destroyed.

“The road at Hinakura was closed, so Martinborough couldn’t get to it [quickly].

By the time we got there, it was completely razed to the ground.

“Everyone is okay. The people moved out about a week ago, and it was the neighbour who alerted us about it.

“It was a big night. We only got home at 10am.”

Hawkins said it was hard to say if the house could have been saved had the road been open.

“Who knows what difference it would have made if we had been able to go the normal route.

“A typical house fire goes up in flames pretty quickly.”

A Fire and Emergency spokesperson said the fire was a “long duration event” with multiple crews responding, including a crew and water tanker from Masterton, two crews and one water tanker from Carterton, two crews from Martinborough, one four-wheel-drive vehicle from Lake Ferry and the Greytown crew.

The last truck departed the scene at 10.19am.

The blaze came after a busy night for fire brigades, who had to rescue a man from floodwaters on Kokotau Rd shortly after midnight on Tuesday.

A newspaper delivery driver had passed through a road-closed sign, and his vehicle had stalled in rising flood waters.

Robinson said fire crews from Carterton and Martinborough responded on either side.

“The water flooded his vehicle, and he was stuck.

“We put on water safety clips and walked him out to the other side.

“He carried his newspapers with him when he left.”

Carterton called Martinborough fire station to help as floodwater continued to rise and flow sped up.

The Martinborough crew arrived on the scene shortly after 1am.

George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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