Vintage car survives blaze, pulled out as building razed

It may not have been able to dodge a falling roof, but a vintage car which survived a fire in the Wolfenden and Russell building has survived to see sunlight again.

The 1930 Dodge, which was trapped in the building when the roof collapsed in last year's fire, was mechanically extracted from the wreckage this morning.

The building housed clothing retailer Wolfenden and Russell for over a century before closing in 2013.

The devastating fire happened on July 4 last year and at the height of the blaze there were six crews working to get it under control. 

Demolition on the building, alongside two other neighbouring earthquake prone buildings on King Edward St commenced yesterday and was expected to take three weeks.

In September, Positive Property Ltd director Justin Stott said the demolition would make way for a three-level building, including 300sqm of retail and 3000sqm of office space, as well as 40 car parks.

The 1930 Dodge was mechanically extracted from the wreckage this morning. Photo: Rachel Elder
The 1930 Dodge was mechanically extracted from the wreckage this morning. Photo: Rachel Elder


As Eric Olsson wrote ('The Flat'),
W & R represented 'a glamour of business'. The shop was described in a South Dunedin Community Profile (Polytech), with written histories supplied by Gary Roberts.

Always laugh at how they make their demolition justifiable with words like "earthquake prone". While the WR building was pretty had it, and didn't have much of a facade anyway, the 130 or so years old Victorian 2 story building nectar door with its bay windows is distinctive. A very similar design to many English seaside town facades. Even if the building was demolished, the facade should be kept and bracing just that against quakes isn't as costly. But the new wave of a virus to wreck history and character is sneaking in again, to line the pockets of 'suits' and their vapid glass and steel. Invercargill is a victim of that now.



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