Hundreds of workers spilled on to city streets yesterday
after at least six fire alarms were activated in the Dunedin
central business district.
Emergency services said the false alarms - allegedly
maliciously triggered - could have had disastrous
Dunedin Senior Station Officer Rob Torrance said the first
alarm sounded at the Work and Income office in Cumberland St
Dunedin City Station responded to the first call.
Within 20 minutes, all eight available appliances - including
Mosgiel, Ravensbourne and a ladder truck - had been called.
''It is a complete waste of resources,'' Mr Torrance said.
''That epitomises what we don't want to happen: all our
appliances being involved over such a short time.''
Almost 30 firefighters attended the false alarms, including
at Cadbury and Radio Otago House in Cumberland St, and
Investment House, Otago House and Public Trust Building in
Two fire appliances had been fighting a small fire in
Brockville just before the alarms.
Roslyn Fire Station Officer Justin Wafer said he was
attending to a ''smoked-logged'' house in Brockville when the
crew were called to the ''frustrating and unwelcome'' alarms.
The evacuation of hundreds of workers would have been
detrimental to the Dunedin economy, he said.
''There would have been a lot of business lost ... '' Mr
''Some of those buildings have hundreds of people in them and
a lot of business carried out within.''
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said
he was listening to the 2014 Budget in the Public Trust
Building when the building's alarm sounded.
About 200 staff had evacuated the building, he said.
The ''annoying'' business interruption was inconvenient and
would have cost businesses money, he said.
''You are talking about firms on billable hours in some cases
and that is lost productivity.''
Sergeant Reece Munro, of Dunedin, said a 32-year-old Dunedin
man was due to appear in the Dunedin District Court today
charged with knowingly giving, or causing to be given, any
false alarm of fire.
Further charges were likely, Sgt Munro said.
''It's something we take quite seriously, given the impact it
has on the community.''