Sprin­klers saved beloved church

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

There is a good news story in among all the de­struc­tion caused by the Queen’s Birth­day week­end ar­son as­sault.

Pau­ata­hanui’s iconic St Al­ban’s church was saved from the flames against all odds by a sprin­kler sys­tem in­stalled with fore­sight six years ago.

The His­toric Places Trust urged Pau­ata­hanui’s Anglican parish to safe­guard its 1896 wooden church from the risk of fire, and helped fund $27,000 worth of sprin­klers in 2005.

The sys­tem is con­nected to a mon­i­tor­ing com­pany, who are sup­posed to alert fire ser­vices if the church’s sprin­klers are trig­gered.

But de­spite the sys­tem be­ing tested the Fri­day be­fore the fire, the mon­i­tor­ing com­pany failed to re­spond when the heat trig­gered the sprin­klers at 2am on June 5.

How­ever, a neigh­bour heard the alarm and called the po­lice.

But be­fore fire­fight­ers ar­rived, the sprin­klers had com­pletely ex­tin­guished the blaze be­fore more than su­per­fi­cial dam­age was caused to St Al­ban’s en­trance­way.

Archdea­con of St Al­ban’s, Jenny Daw­son, says al­though the dam­age is mi­nor, the church’s in­surance ex­cess is a hefty $2000 – it had in­creased af­ter the Christchurch earth­quake.

‘‘We’re go­ing to open an ap­peal. We don’t have that kind of money,’’ she says.

She’s cer­tain the com­mu­nity will rally to do­nate, as the church is loved by lo­cals.

‘‘ This is the heart com­mu­nity.’’

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