Second flare up at Christchurch's historic Risingholme Community Centre video

STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ.

Christchurch's Risingholme Community Centre which was severely damaged by fire June 6th was home to squatters according to locals

A blaze at a historic Christchurch community centre is being treated as suspicious. 

Firefighters returned to the site of the fire at 6.30am on Tuesday to extinguish a hot spot that flared up in the former Risingholme Community Centre's roof.

Fire risk management principal adviser Ian Duncan was at the scene working to determine the cause of the blaze, which was still unknown. 

JULIA FIELD ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ

The fire took hold quickly at the community centre.

The fire at Risingholme Community Centre on Monday night.

Firefighters watch on as the fire at the Risingholme Community Centre is contained.

Neighbours say huge flames leapt from a historic Christchurch community centre after it caught fire on Monday night.

At least eight crews were at the former Risingholme Community Centre in Opawa shortly after 9pm on Monday. Firefighters returned Tuesday morning are a hot spot flared up in the roof.

The Fire Service was alerted by a security company that monitored alarms at the centre.

The cause of the blaze was yet to be determined.

A fire investigator will examine the scene on Tuesday morning.

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"As part of the investigation, including collecting witness statements, we are using the turntable ladder, using that good perspective to get an overall view of what's going on."

Duncan said the fire started at the back of the property and then moved into the roof, where most of the fire damage was contained. 

Fire Service spokesman Daryl Ball said the fire on Cholmondeley Ave, Opawa, started about 8pm on Monday.

Neighbours say huge flames leapt from a historic Christchurch community centre after it caught fire on Monday night.
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ

Neighbours say huge flames leapt from a historic Christchurch community centre after it caught fire on Monday night.

"On arrival, there was nothing obvious immediately, but after a more careful search we found a small fire . . . which progressed very quickly." 

Six fire trucks, a command unit and a turntable ladder, which allowed the fire to be fought from above, were at the scene at the peak of the blaze. 

The Christchurch City Council was to tender the permanent repair job on the earthquake-damaged centre this month. The work was to be completed by the end of the year. The centre's headquarters are housed temporarily on nearby Hawford Rd. 

ALDEN WILLIAMS/Stuff.co.nz

Firefighters look on as the fire at the Risingholme Community Centre is contained.

"I was looking forward to seeing the building come alive again. The place has just looked so sad and tired since the earthquakes, with all its windows boarded up," neighbour Alistair Robertson said.

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He often went for walks through the gardens surrounding the home.

"Its just got such a lot of character, a lovely old building. I hope it can still be restored because we have lost so much of our history already since the earthquakes."

The building dates back to 1864, but has not been used in recent years.
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ

The building dates back to 1864, but has not been used in recent years.

Neighbour Julia Field said the flames were "insane".

"It's such an old, dry homestead. It's gone up like a torch."

The category two historic building was built in 1864, and became the Risingholme Community Centre in 1944. 

 

The Risingholme Community Centre in Christchurch.
SUPPLIED

The Risingholme Community Centre in Christchurch.

 - Stuff

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