Fire forces plan change
A Port Underwood couple have shifted Christmas to Nelson this year after a large bush fire left their home without water and no sewage system.
Flagg Bay resident Graeme Carter said Saturday's blaze melted their water tank and the pipes leading into their septic tank.
His two sons and one grandson were supposed to visit from Nelson.
"We were all having Christmas here but that's changed. They were really looking forward to it."
Mr Carter and his wife Marilyn were on their way to Nelson yesterday when contacted by the Express.
Mr Carter didn't expect to get water back on at his Flagg Bay home until the New Year, he said.
"We've contacted the insurance company, we'll see what happens."
Mr Carter also lost three sheds - a sleep out, a tool shed and a garden shed.
"There was a lot of stuff in those. It's hard to figure out what's lost but we're OK."
Mr Carter said the fire engulfed the bay quickly.
He and another resident, Bob Archer, were blocked from evacuating to the main road leading to Hakahaka Bay where other people escaped to.
"We took off but had to go down to the beach. Then the wind changed and smoke and debris started hitting us down there. We had to take off further round the beach. From there we got to a friend's place and then evacuated to Hakahaka Bay."
Principal rural fire officer Richard McNamara said the cost of tackling the blaze was about $70,000.
"Considering we saved five [properties] and the DC [power] link, I would say that's pretty good value for money."
Fire crews were onsite again at 5am yesterday and found a number of hot spots.
The Marlborough Express