Insurer sues companies over Port Hills fires

Smoke from the Port Hills blaze just outside of Christchurch. Photo: Christchurch District Council
Smoke from the Port Hills blaze just outside of Christchurch. Photo: Christchurch District Council
Insurer IAG is suing Christchurch Adventure Park and powerline company Orion over the devastating fires in Christchurch’s Port Hills.

The blaze started as two separate fires on February 13 and merged to tear through 2000ha of forestry and scrub and destroy 11 homes.

It smouldered for weeks and was officially declared extinguished 66 days after it started.

In a statement, Orion Group said IAG alleged one of the fires was started by a failure in Orion’s electricity equipment in Early Valley Rd.

Orion would be lodging files denying the claims with the High Court on Tuesday, a spokeswoman said.

‘‘We understand that the people of Christchurch need to know what caused the Port Hills fires,’’ she said.

 ‘‘We are co-operating with the Fire Service’s investigators, and providing them with the information they have requested about our network.’’

An IAG spokeswoman confirmed the company had issued proceedings against the park and Orion but declined to give further details about the allegations.

‘‘As the matter is before the courts, we will not be commenting further at this time.’’

A spokeswoman for Christchurch Adventure Park also declined to elaborate, only saying a statement of claim had been received and was being reviewed.

The park closed following the blaze and might reopen by December, according to its website.

Fire investigators in July confirmed one of the two original fires was suspicious.

Helicopter pilot David Steven Askin (38) died after crashing while battling the blazes. 

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