Home' Christchurch Mail : March 14th 2013 Contents 3
CHRISTCHURCH MAIL, MARCH 14, 2013
Ring Gerald and Christine:
Phone: 383-1364 or 0800 23 10 23
12 Ashwood St, Queenspark, Christchurch
29 Years of Friendly Service with a Guarantee
Variety of new and u d
w ee c air and wa
"Simply the Be
As seen on TV
ed cooter ,
55 Hawke St, New Brighton. Ph: 388 3006
New Yea r
CASUAL AND SHORT TERM
MEMBERSHIPS AVAILABLE NOW!
ò Step, Pump, Zumba, Boxing
ò 8 weekly programme updates
ò Easy weekly payment options
ò Plenty of free off street parking
Join for 6 months
or more and
receive 6 sessions
with an exercise
ADRENALIN RUSH: Students and staff fled as the fire quickly spread across the dry farmland they were camping on.
Campsite inferno terror
By ABBIE NAPIER
There was thick black smoke
everywhere. We realised we
couldn't out-run it.''
CASHMERE HIGH School
students on a kayaking
trip were forced to flee
with nothing but the clothes on
their backs when a fire started by
a student engulfed their campsite.
The Year 12 and 13 outdoor
education group were about 24
hours into their annual kayaking
trip on the Hurunui River when
the fire broke out.
Horrified students scrambled to
escape as the fire ripped through
tents, personal belongings and
It took emergency services four
hours to get control of the blaze,
which wiped out a large section of
privately owned bush and farm-
land near Lake Sumner Rd.
A witness said the fire was star-
ted by a student playing with a
A nearby student screamed for
help as the fire caught tinder
dry'' scrub and bush.
It was less than 30 seconds
before the fire was completely out
It got so huge so quickly, we
realised there was no way we
could put it out,'' one witness said.
We tried to throw water on it,
but it was too big. We just ran. We
had to leave behind everything.
In about 30 seconds it was
climbing 20-foot trees and there
was thick black smoke every-
where. We realised we couldn't
out-run it, and the wind could
spread it really quickly.
When I was running it was just
a huge adrenalin rush and sur-
vival instincts kicked in.''
A witness said the students
were not supervised by teachers
at the time, and the only adult at
the campsite was the wife of a
kayaking instructor with children
of her own to look after.
Half the class was still on the
river, and the Christchurch Mail
understands both supervising tea-
chers had left the campsite to col-
The students clambered into a
nearby four-wheel-drive and fled
down to the river to alert the
At first I don't think they quite
believed us, but they were in
action mode pretty quickly.''
The Fire Service said the closest
fire crew, in Hawarden, was about
50 minutes away, and a helicopter
was called in to assist.
The Department of Conser-
vation was alerted when the fire
came within one kilometre of
DOC took over investigation of
the fire this week.
Associate principal Carla Smith
said the students involved had
been returned to the school on
She confirmed the suspension of
the student believed to have star-
ted the blaze, pending an ongoing
investigation into the fire's cause.
Students who witnessed the
events were being interviewed.
There's definitely more that
has to happen to work out what
happened up there,'' she said.
School and personal property
was destroyed in the blaze, and
Ms Smith said the school was still
sorting out insurance. She
believed some personal belongings
would need to be replaced using
parents' insurance cover.
This will have a long-lasting
impact on our outdoor education
programme. We lost all our gear,
and it's going to take a while to
work through insurance.''
Teachers returned to the camp-
site on Friday to try and salvage
Asked about the supervision of
students at the time of the blaze,
Ms Smith said she was not sure
who had been at the campsite at
the time, as principal Mark Wil-
son had been dealing with the
incident, but was on leave this
The Fire Service appeared
quite happy with the procedures
we had in place, and I think our
procedures are quite good.''
Students had been offered coun-
selling. A second trip scheduled
for this week had been cancelled.
Links Archive March 7th 2013 March 21st 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page