Palmerston North people who have heard or seen advertisements about a scheduled house fire might be wondering how such a thing could be taking place on the same day a drought was declared.
Rest assured, it is not.
Manawatu Assistant Fire Area Commander Rodger Calder said a training exercise using a house destined for demolition was to take place today and tomorrow , depending on how long it burnt for.
The house, at 146 James' Line, had been donated by its owners to allow firefighters to use it for training purposes, allowing them to practice how to put out a house fire and simulate some of the events that can happen.
The exercise was postponed indefinitely last week, before hundreds of flyers could be posted in the neighbouring area and newspaper ads notifying of the event could be run.
It was inappropriate for the fire service to be spraying their hoses when authorities were asking other people to reduce water use, he said.
But, radio advertisements were still playing as late as today, telling people James' Line would be down to one lane and smoke visible across the city.
Mr Calder said they had tried to get the advertisement pulled, but had been told there was some issue removing it from programming so it had continued to play.
They did not often do such exercises in urban areas because of the smoke, but the house is back off the road and was not derelict, which made it better for training purposes, he said.
There was a large enough lay-by for engines to be pulled off the road, and traffic would have been able to pass in both directions, even though they had warned people the road would be down to one lane as a precaution.
The owners of the house had told them they would hold it for them as long as possible, but their building plans would dictate when it needed to come down.
Mr Calder said he hoped the exercise could go ahead in future, but he was mindful of their need to respect the community and felt it was important they did what they could to help.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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