Woman told her chimney must go

IAN ALLEN
Last updated 10:59 26/07/2013
Angela Wilton
Emma Allen

Cracks showing: Above, Angela Wilton outside her Redwoodtown property where the footpath has been cordoned because of her quake-damaged chimney.

Angela Wilton
Emma Allen
Brick by brick: Heating Marlborough owner Peter Cairns and Blenheim Chimney Cleaning owner Doug Powell dismantle Angela Wilton's quake-damaged chimney.

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A Blenheim woman has been told by the Earthquake Commission to go ahead and bring down her quake-damaged chimney and make a claim later.

Angela Wilton said she was frustrated at having to cough up her own money, probably close to $2000, but felt the chimney needed to come down.

"It's not safe," she said yesterday.

"We have no choice in the matter, we have to get it down. If we get another big quake . . . You can tell by looking at it, if a brick goes it's going to come down."

Mrs Wilton was running outside after every little aftershock to check for further damage, she said.

She was concerned for her three children and for people walking past the Redwoodtown property.

She rang Marlborough District Council who cordoned a small section of footpath on the chimney side on Tuesday before contacting Heating Marlborough who took the chimney down yesterday.

"It's pretty scary and could come down onto the footpath."

Mrs Wilton was told by EQC that their assessors could not get out to Marlborough straight away.

"They asked me how bad the damage was and I said I was pretty sure it had to come down. They couldn't give me a timeframe and said, because it's urgent, we had to pay for it ourselves and then go back to EQC and get the money back."

Finding the money to pay for the work was another stress she didn't need, Mrs Wilton said.

"I was so annoyed and I'm assuming we're not the only people."

Mrs Wilton said it was a "pretty ridiculous" situation that made her feel for Cantabrians.

"I suppose I shouldn't moan, look at what Christchurch has been through."

Mrs Wilton's husband had been up to the roof to take pictures of the cracks, she said.

"That's when you realise how bad it really is and we still have to look down [the chimney] to see if there is damage inside."

Heating Marlborough owner Peter Cairns said he had five quake-damaged chimneys to dismantle. Mrs Wilton's was the worst of the lot, he said.

"It's actually a lot worse than I thought. This one needs to come down, it's dangerous because it's so close to the road."

Mr Cairns was on a different roof on Wednesday when an aftershock hit.

"It's uncanny. You can certainly feel it. I guess it's no different, you just have further to fall. Although I'd rather be on top of the tiles than underneath them."

Commission spokeswoman Sarona Iosefa said they had received about 590 claims from Marlborough.

The commission would not know until next week when assessors were likely to be in Marlborough, she said.

Claimants were advised to photograph any damage and keep broken items as evidence to show the assessors.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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