... but so far. Fam­i­lies stuck be­hind cor­dons

The Press - - Front Page - MAR­TIN VAN BEY­NEN

Mi­randa New­bury is wor­ried her fam­ily home may be gone – swal­lowed by the flames of the Port Hills fire.

But it’s the fam­ily’s dearly loved cats Ste­vie and Daisy that she and hus­band Craig are most con­cerned about.

They had only min­utes to evac­u­ate their house at the top of Wors­ley Rd where they have lived for three years.

‘‘We packed some things about 8am [on Wed­nes­day] but things seemed fine,’’ Mi­randa said.

The cou­ple could hear the fire from their home by about 1pm on Wed­nes­day. At 2.15pm the po­lice ar­rived to say they had to leave im­me­di­ately. ‘‘I went out­side and thought, ‘‘Oh my God,’’ we’ve got to go,’’ Mi­randa said.

They packed some pho­tographs and school uni­forms but couldn’t find Ste­vie and Daisy. Mi­randa left out enough food for a week.

‘‘We want to get the cats. Re­ally that’s all,’’ she said.

They would also like to know the con­di­tion of their house. They have been told it will be about two days be­fore they can check their prop­erty.

‘‘The po­lice and the Fire Ser­vice don’t seem to be com­mu­ni­cat­ing too well,’’ Craig said as he and Mi­randa tried to get an­swers at a po­lice cor­don at the bot­tom of Wors­ley Rd.

‘‘We don’t want to hang around. We want to know if it’s live­able. If not, we want to get per­ma­nent ac­com­mo­da­tion so we are not both­er­ing peo­ple by stay­ing with them for a few nights. And the cats,’’ Mi­randa said.

The cou­ple have not told their daugh­ters, Emma, 13, and Milla, 11, that the fate of their home is in the bal­ance. They don’t want to worry them.

‘‘But we can’t do that for much longer,’’ Mi­randa said.

Heli­copters have filled their mon­soon buck­ets with wa­ter from their swim­ming pool and the New­burys are glad to help.

But now they need to get back to their house, they say.

Wed­nes­day night was ‘‘quite ter­ri­fy­ing’’ for Jono Blyth, who lives with his wife Sarah Prid­dle on lower Wors­ley Rd. Prid­dle was out of town for work and Blyth de­cided to bail.

‘‘Just be­hind the trees it was all up in flames and a friend and I started drag­ging things from the house and putting them the car. Clothes, pho­tographs,’’ Blyth said.

‘‘We were never told we had to go but we have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, so we spent the night at my mother’s house.’’

The chil­dren, Scar­lett, 2, and Henry, 4, had found the evac­u­a­tion ex­cit­ing. They’ve been talk­ing about it at pre-school, Prid­dle said.

PHOTO: DAVID WALKER/FAIR­FAX NZ

De­stroyed Wors­leys Rd prop­er­ties in Christchurch south. The in­tact one be­longs to Craig and Mi­randa New­bury.

The last photo Mi­randa New­bury took of their home be­fore be­ing evac­u­ated.

PHOTO: IAIN McGRE­GOR/FAIR­FAX NZ

Mi­randa New­bury des­per­ately tries to find out if her Wors­ley Rd home had sur­vived.

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