The need to fireproof homes in remote areas has been
highlighted after fire destroyed a farm house up the
Whanganui River valley.
The fire is believed to have started in a shed next to an old
homestead on the Morikaunui Incorporation station at Ranana
then spread to a home next door.
The home, which was used as a staff house, was occupied but
no one was injured when the blaze took hold around 4.30pm on
Fire trucks from both Wanganui and Raetihi brigades went to
the scene but the property was well alight by the time they
Wanganui fire safety officer John Hotter said that because of
the fire's location, it took the Wanganui truck more than an
hour to get there.
"By then it was well alight," Mr Hotter said.
Lisa McLeod, whose husband Nigel manages the 4900ha sheep and
cattle farm, said the house had been totally destroyed.
"There's only a couple of bits of roof iron left," Mrs McLeod
Mr Hotter said the fire in an isolated rural area underlined
the need for landowners to be prepared.
The fire trucks had water only in their tanks and what was
available from the property.
"Getting access to water in those rural areas is always an
issue and it emphasises again the need for those living in
the country to consider having firefighting water supplies
Mr Hotter said it also highlighted the effectiveness of
"I'm not saying it would have made a major difference in
those case but at least it would have suppressed the fire for
He said retro-fitting a sprinkler system in an old home was
"The ceiling cavity in those older homes is usually spacious
and it just means installing a ring main and running the
sprinkler system from that."
- By John Maslin of the Wanganui Chronicle