Heat­pump starts med­i­cal cen­tre fire

Central Leader - - NEWS - By ELESHA ED­MONDS

Staff at a doc­tors surgery se­verely dam­aged by fire say they’re over­whelmed by sup­port from the com­mu­nity.

The Four Kauri Fam­ily Med­i­cal Cen­tre in the Auck­land sub­urb of Mt Al­bert was gut­ted by fire on May 28.

Fire In­ves­ti­ga­tor Rus­sell Dick­son says the blaze was caused by an old air con­di­tion­ing unit over­heat­ing.

Dr Sarah Ste­wart, who works at the cen­tre, says ev­ery­one has been moved by mes­sages from the public.

‘‘Most of the the doc­tors have been in prac­tice for 20 years and a lot of the pa­tients have been com­ing for a long time.’’

Pa­tients took to Face­book to ex­press their sad­ness af­ter hear­ing about the dam­age to the surgery, which has served the Mt Al­bert com­mu­nity for more than 50 years.

‘‘This was my first ever doc­tors’, from the late 60s on,’’ Nikki Frittmann wrote.

‘‘The days when you had one doc­tor, who saw you come into this world, and pretty much saw you go out.’’

Michelle Joy wrote that she had been go­ing to the surgery for more than 30 years.

‘‘It’s a very, very sad day. The doc­tors’ per­sonal of­fices were al­ways lined with fam­ily pho­tos and chil­dren’s art. I cer­tainly feel for them all.’’

Ste­wart says the prac­tice will be re­lo­cated to a tem­po­rary lo­ca­tion by the end of the week. Un­til then St Luke’s White Cross is pro­vid­ing a room for Four Kauri med­i­cal staff to see pa­tients.

All med­i­cal records were safe and se­cure, she says.

The cen­tre’s phone lines have been di­verted to the regular af­ter-hours ser­vice.

Dick­son says the fire se­verely dam­aged the re­cep­tion area but the back con­sult­ing rooms were not af­fected. The doors to the doc­tors’ of­fices were closed and this stopped any smoke dam­age to the rooms.

Fire Ser­vice north­ern com­mu­ni­ca­tions shift manager Paul Radden says the blaze was quite ad­vanced when emer­gency ser­vices ar­rived at the scene around 7.30am.

Smoke from the fire had drifted north and could be seen through­out the cen­tral city. At the height of the fire eight trucks and as many as 40 fire­fight­ers were at the scene.

It will be a while be­fore staff at the cen­tre know what will hap­pen to the dam­aged build­ing, Ste­wart says.

Photo: JU­LIAN RAETHEL

Fire­fight­ers dampen down the Four Kauri Fam­ily Med­i­cal Cen­tre on New North Rd af­ter fire ripped through it.

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