Fire won’t ham­per de­vel­op­ment

Hastings Leader - - News -

Although the fire at the Hawke’s Bay Opera House re­cently caused some dam­age that will need clean­ing up, the earth­quake strength­en­ing pro­ject will still be com­pleted on time and on bud­get.

Af­ter con­duct­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tions, the Po­lice and Fire Ser­vice con­firmed that this fire, along with two oth­ers on the same night within a 1km ra­dius, was be­ing treated as sus­pi­cious.

A per­son broke into the load­ing bay at the back of the Opera House and lit a fire there that caused some dam­age close by, as well as smoke dam­age on the floors above.

The ma­jor chal­lenge in clean­ing up af­ter the fire will be deal­ing with the soot and smell in the stage area that spread all the way up to the roof space.

Proper fire pro­to­cols had been fol­lowed, which pre­vented the smoke from ex­tend­ing be­yond the back stage and stage area.

The au­di­to­rium was un­af­fected.

There was, how­ever, a con­sid­er­able amount of soot to be cleaned up on the stage, and the stage roof ar­eas in­clud­ing the cur­tains and theatre rig­ging sys­tem, coun­cil staff said.

The costs and lo­gis­tics of get­ting the clean-up work done are be­ing dis­cussed with the coun­cil’s in­sur­ers.

Coun­cil­lor Mal­colm Dixon says he had talked to some of the team from Gemco who were car­ry­ing out the earth­quake strength­en­ing work.

“These peo­ple are very proud to be in­volved in this pro­ject and it’s a bit tough on them that some­thing like this has hap­pened. I want to ac­knowl­edge their ef­forts.”

Mayor San­dra Ha­zle­hurst says while it was re­ally dis­ap­point­ing to have parts of the Opera House dam­aged by the fire, this in­ci­dent will not hold up the precinct de­vel­op­ment.

“We are re­ally grate­ful for the hard work and ded­i­ca­tion given to this pro­ject by our con­trac­tors, com­mu­nity and all those in­volved in the pro­ject.

“We are re­ally con­fi­dent this beloved com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity will be open again by this time next year.”

A bless­ing was held at the Opera House last Fri­day.

PHOTO: WARREN BUCK­LAND

Clean-up of the Hawke's Bay Opera House af­ter a fire, a sus­pected ar­son, in the load­ing bay.

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