Blaze de­stroys Wind­mill Road grand­stand

Central Leader - - EDUCATION & TRAINING - STAFF RE­PORTERS

A blaze that gut­ted a grand­stand in cen­tral Auck­land ap­pears to have been de­lib­er­ately lit.

Fire crews bat­tled the large fire, which en­gulfed the grand­stand of a ten­nis and net­ball court com­plex in Mt Eden’s Wind­mill Rd, on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

About five fire crews rushed to the scene at about 2.15 pm on Sun­day and worked to pre­vent it from spread­ing af­ter it reached the pav­il­ion’s clu­b­room.

A fire com­mu­ni­ca­tions spokes­woman said about 2.55pm that the fire was con­tained.

Black smoke could be seen bil­low­ing over the suburb.

Po­lice and the Fire Ser­vice have launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which found that the fire was de­lib­er­ately lit.

It ap­peared to have started at a small shed within the grand­stand.

A ma­jor­ity of the clu­b­room and the build­ing it­self were saved but the grand­stand was com­pletely de­stroyed, fire in­ves­ti­ga­tor Linda McHugh said.

The net­ball courts were re­opened in 2012 af­ter be­ing spar­ingly used for six years.

The courts were the home of Auck­land Net­ball from 1932 to 2006 and it re­opened the courts af­ter mov­ing to St Johns.

Cindy, a res­i­dent who lives op­po­site the courts was inside her house with her sis­ter when they heard the sirens.

‘‘My sis­ter jumped up and ran out be­cause she thought her car was be­ing towed away.

‘‘It was only when we got to the road that we saw the fire trucks and black smoke that we re­alised there was a fire - right across from our home,’’ she said.

Her sis­ter usu­ally parks her car right out­side the courts, but on Sun­day she parked op­po­site.

‘‘Our neigh­bour’s car was parked next to the courts so we called him out to get his car out of there in case the fire got re­ally bad.’’

An­other Mt Eden res­i­dent Erc An­dreakis said the courts were pop­u­lar with chil­dren and youths dur­ing the sum­mer months.

‘‘It’s al­ways open so peo­ple can just walk in and use it any­time.

‘‘There are also usu­ally youths that hang out out­side the courts and drink, only be­cause the toi­let at the court is al­ways open.’’

Fire crews were lucky there was min­i­mal wind on Sun­day, which stopped the blaze from spread­ing fur­ther, McHugh said.

McHugh en­cour­aged any­one who was in the area at the time, and saw any sus­pi­cious be­hav­iour, to con­tact po­lice.

TORIKA TOKALAU-CHAN­DRA

Fire ripped through a build­ing at the Wind­mill Road ten­nis courts in Mt Eden.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.