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Hills above Lower Hutt burn in scrub fire

Dec 7th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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BIG SMOKE: Fire Officers make their way towards the fire above Hutt Valley.

FIRE engulfed the hills above Wingate in Lower Hutt after a witness says she heard a sound like tires popping in a spare parts yard above her home.

The woman, who lives on Cambridge Tce about 700m from the edge of the fire, saw smoke from her window “some time after lunch” and called the Fire Service.

When she went outside she heard a sound like a “small pop of tires blowing up” coming from the  Pick-A-Part yard on the hill above the Wingate over-bridge.

The hillside above the scrap yard was burning.

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Tara Noble watches the fire spread.

Tara Noble (17) saw the smoke from her home in Naenae at about 3pm and drove with her family to see the fire.

Miss Noble says the burning area was small at first, “and then started crawling up the hill”.

The Nobles were held inside a cordon set up by the Fire Service when Cambridge Tce was closed to traffic from Wingate bridge to Hewer Cres.

NewsWire saw motorists being diverted away from the area.

Many were angry at the diversion, including one motorist who ran the cordon and tried to drive on to Wingate.  The driver was turned back by police.

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Fire officers fight the fire on the ground.

Station Officer Gareth Hughes of Avalon Fire Station said at the scene the first emergency call came in at 2:26pm for a “scrub fire” above the Pick-A-Part scrap yard.

Twenty two fire vehicles responded, including his crew, which was called away from the Te Ra o Te Rakura fair at Te Whiti Park in Waiwhetu at 2:40pm and were the fourth pump at the scene.

An Air Control helicopter and police also attended.

Mr Hughes estimated the fire to be 1km square, ranging over two or three ridges of the hill.

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The helicopter began water dumps drawn from the Hutt River until a reservoir and landing area could be set up on park land adjacent to Wingate Bridge.

A Fire Service command centre was established at the Pick-A-Part scrap yard and a team of Rural Bush Force officers could be seen working in the burnt scrub.

A reservoir dam was set up on the traffic island adjoining Wingate Bridge and the helicopter made 10 to 15 drops by 4:30pm.  Water for the reservoir came by hose from a hydrant on Hewer Cres.

Locals lined the street to watch the helicopter deliver its pay load.

Police at the scene said the pedestrian cordon at Wingate was to protect the helicopter landing area and keep people out of the chopper’s flight path.

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The Air Control helicopter collects a new payload from its reservoir.

fire 3The helicopter spreads one of its water loads.

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is is a Whitireia Journalism student passionate about pop culture, loud music, comic books and the news. She blogs about gender issues, sexual harassment and violence at quidproquonz.wordpress.com but isn't nearly as angry as that might make her seem. She secretly dreams of writing for Fangoria magazine, but would settle for a desk at The New York Times.
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2 comments
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  1. I live in Taita and I could see the fire from my garage roof.
    I also heard on the radio that the fire had reignited this morning, it was probably the same arsonist who lit it yesterday.

  2. It was hot-spots that most likely re-ignited.
    Interesting about the tire ‘popping’ sound.

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