Phone wires spark fire callout

SASHA BORISSENKO
Last updated 07:46 24/01/2014
stoke fire
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ

UNDER CONTROL: Stoke and Richmond firefighters battle the Suffolk Rd fire on Thursday afternoon.

stoke fire
Andrew Hawes
BURNING: Smoke rises from the fire at a subdivision which quickly spread across 1500 square metres of a Stoke paddock on Thursday.

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A fire in Stoke is believed to have been sparked by telephone wires being installed for a new subdivision.

Firefighters from Stoke and Richmond put out the fire on Suffolk Rd that quickly spread across 1500 square metres at 12pm yesterday.

The owner of the property, who declined to be named, said a group of workmen were putting in telephone wires for a new subdivision he was creating when some live wires sparked and a fire broke out.

The fire spread across 1500m square metres of his paddock that ran directly next to his house, he said.

A few trees burnt but there was no further damage, he said.

"The wind was blowing in the other direction, thankfully, so it did not touch anything outside my property."

He was pretty concerned for his house.

"I am pretty lucky there were no trees around the house that could have caught fire."

The fire turned out to be for the best, he said.

"It has saved me having to get some livestock in the paddock to cut the grass. Now it has had a nice haircut."

Neighbour Andrew Hawes said one minute he saw smoke and heard crackling and the next the whole field next to his property was alight.

"It really took off so quickly. It was really roaring at one point."

He was alerted to the fire when he could hear a lot of people swearing in the neighbouring property.

He was a little scared for his property but noticed the wind was blowing it in the opposite direction.

Fellow property owner Jarrod Robinson said Mr Hawes told him to come home and get his water bucket ready but once he arrived it was under control.

"I was a little disappointed to miss the action, I was ready to get the sprinkler and hang it from the deck."

Mr Robinson's family had built the property in 1999 and he had never seen a fire in the area.

Stoke Fire Station officer Chris Watson said he could not determine the exact cause of the fire until an investigation took place. The fire was contained in less than half an hour.

"It spread pretty quickly with all of the dry grass around combined with these unprecedented winds."

In the past week there had been a spate of fires which had stretched resources, he said.

He urged the public to be vigilant during these summer months.

In previous years the weather was slightly drier and hotter whereas this year's initial dampness could induce a bit of apathy among the public, he said.

It was always good to keep a bit of space between dry vegetation areas and people's properties.

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