Patrolling police officers and a quick-thinking teenager
helped to avoid a potential disaster on Monday when they
spotted a car on fire at a petrol station.
Members of the Alexandra-based Otago Rural drink-drive team
had been conducting roadside checks on motorists between
Oamaru and Otematata during Labour Weekend, and officers were
on hand when a Mini caught fire at an Omarama petrol station
Omarama Challenge service station forecourt attendant Cuillin
MacKay (19) said she was working at the time of the incident,
but police were on the scene "in 30 seconds".
Omarama Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Howard
Williams said the fire was over quickly, but added there had
been "the potential" for the incident to have been much
"It was just a wee Mini on fire in the engine bay. They put
it out, and it was all over."
The fire was caused by fuel leaking on to the exhaust
Police kept a high profile in the Waitaki Lakes area over the
long weekend to ensure there was no repeat of the
alcohol-fuelled trouble seen in 2009.
Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy, of Oamaru, said barring the fire
it had been a relatively trouble-free weekend.
The rural drink-drive team stopped 2820 vehicles between
Oamaru and Otematata, and noted 90 offences, and two
instances of drink-driving. A 14-year-old boy had been
forbidden to drive after he was stopped driving through the
township on Friday night, Snr Sgt McCoy said.
"It appears that his father thought it would be a good idea
to give a driving lesson, but at 14, you're not allowed to
drive, so, not such a good idea."
The boy's father, who was a passenger in the car, was issued
with an infringement notice.