A man was heard screaming in pain as a storage shed complex
north of urban Christchurch erupted in flames this afternoon.
The 58-year-old was taken to hospital with serious burns to
his arms, hands, legs, chest and face after the blaze in
Mills Rd, Marshland shortly after 2pm.
A hospital spokeswoman said the man was in a serious but
stable condition, but he was still being assessed early this
Neighbour Wayne Anstiss said flames were about five metres
high and smoke was billowing from the 15-metre by 50-metre
complex of storage sheds and small workshops.
Mr Anstiss said he heard sirens but didn't take much notice
at first before he looked through his garage window and saw
He said there appeared to have been an explosion that may
have started with petrol.
"Sometimes there are guys there that work on their motocross
bikes in that shed. It used to be a coolstore for the old
orchard," Mr Anstiss said.
"It's pretty much gutted. The whole roof collapsed."
Firefighters called in from the St Albans, Christchurch and
Wainoni brigades worked to keep the flames from nearby trees,
with water tankers from Governors Bay, Brooklands, Woodend
and Bottle Lake.
"The wind was blowing toward the trees. The firefighters were
trying really hard to contain it. If those trees had caught
fire it would've been a whole different story," Mr Anstiss
He said the injured man "sounded like he was in a lot of
"He was screaming."
A Fire Service spokesman said the complex was well ablaze
when firefighters arrived just after 2pm. He understood
another man was treated at the scene for burns.
Storer Contracting Ltd managing director Ross Storer, who
owns storage units just 20 metres away from the fiercely
burning buildings, said firefighters did a "great job"
keeping the blaze away from his sheds.
Mr Storer said he heard about the fire when a neighbour
phoned to say his yard was on fire.
"My buildings are untouched," he said. "I'm pretty rapt about
that, but I feel for the guys who have lost all their gear
and obviously the guy who's in hospital."
He said the gutted storage complex was leased out to
- By Samantha McPherson and Cullen Smith of the