Sprinklers saved beloved church
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.’’