Moutere fire not suspicious - investigation
Last week’s fire at the Moutere Hills Community Centre was caused by an electrical fault in wiring in a ceiling.
The early morning fire gutted the interior of the popular centre’s kitchen and function room. The centre’s management committee plans to develop an interim outdoor social and food area to cater for demand until the building is repaired.
New Zealand Fire Service investigator Ross Bailey said last Tuesday’s fire started in the centre’s function room. ‘‘It was an dhaccident,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s difficult to say exactly what happened because of the extent of the damage but it is not dhsuspicious.’’
Mr Bailey came to his finding after an investigation in conjunction with insurers and an electrical engineer.
He said the centre’s smoke alarms did not activate because the smoke was above them in the roof cavity.
The room did not contain heat detectors because the roof cavity was too small, he said.
The manual alarm was actidhvated by a centre staff member who discovered the fire.
The eight-year-old centre is dhowned by Tasman District Council and managed by the community.
The centre’s chairman, Philip Leith, said the management committee had not yet seen the fire investigation report.
Power and water services had been returned to part of the building and the committee was confident it could continue to operate and provide outdoor services on-site and indoor activities at other venues until the centre was rebuilt.
‘‘We are not directly involved in the insurance and rebuild talks at this stage, but I understand a report will go to a council meeting in a couple of weeks and there will be a full briefing then.’’
He said the important thing was that no-one was injured. ‘‘And the structural integrity of the building does not appear to have been too badly compromised"
Mr Leith said the committee planned to use a kitchen in the adjoining former football clubrooms and create a covered outdoor area which could be used for food and beverage service to meet the needs of the winter sports clubs.
‘‘We’ll probably need some volunteer help, materials and working bees to get it complete – it’ll be the first project we can get ourntsGout nte teeth into.’’
Meanwhile, this Sunday’s Sarau Festival at the site will go ahead as planned.
Mr Leith encouraged people to attend to, ‘‘support the Moutere, get a glimpse at what we have lost and have a good time’’.
- The Nelson Mail
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