Society's fire appliance collection growing

Dunedin Fire Brigade Restoration Society president Joe Hayde (left) and vice-president Gary Byford, who holds spare parts, stand beside two Dennis fire appliances built in the 1950s, one from Roxburgh and the other from Balclutha. Photos: Gerard O'Brien
Dunedin Fire Brigade Restoration Society president Joe Hayde (left) and vice-president Gary Byford, who holds spare parts, stand beside two Dennis fire appliances built in the 1950s, one from Roxburgh and the other from Balclutha. Photos: Gerard O'Brien
The Dunedin Fire Brigade Restoration Society is on a roll, and has taken five more old machines, mainly fire appliances, into its safekeeping over the past two years.

Society president Joe Hayde said the society previously had 12 fire-related vehicles, mainly fire appliances, but was now safeguarding 17 vehicles at its Burnside premises and workshop.

These included three appliances on loan from other people.

''We're getting along with it, and we're getting on top of some of the maintenance,'' Mr Hayde said.

The society was in good heart, and he was optimistic it could play a positive role by safeguarding three vintage vehicles that had been kept at the former Cadbury factory complex.

When he had recently spoken to Cadbury site manager Judith Mair, he had been encouraged by her response, and that Cadbury was keen to keep the memorabilia in Dunedin.

It would be a ''shame'' if the Cadbury vehicles were to ''disappear off the earth'' when the society and other supporters were prepared to look after them.

He hoped the Cadbury vehicles could be safeguarded in a proposed central city museum, featuring other machinery and the fire appliances, from next year.

Mr Hayde was optimistic about the future, but said the society's appliances had been fortunate to survive the big blaze in Burnside in late January, which incinerated nearby commercial buildings.

The blaze had burned grass and a bush on a bank at one end of the society's main storage building and had badly damaged a small building on the other side.

''It was very, very close; that bank was on fire,'' he said.

Society member Jeff Woodford had reached the society premises and moved a couple of key fire appliances out.

He had then used one working fire appliance to protect the other fire engines and, helped by another man, had pumped water from fire hoses continuously on to the roof, to stop the building going on fire.

The next day, society members found the building's interior was covered with burnt pine needles that had entered from roof gutters, he said.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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