Help for families hit by Prebbleton fires

JOELLE DALLY
Last updated 11:36 27/02/2013
Diesel with David and Deanna Hartley
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ
RELIEF: David and Deanna Hartley with their pet Diesel, injured when their Prebbleton home was destroyed in a fire.

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Two Canterbury families who lost their homes in last month's devastating wildfire near Broadfield will soon be given a financial boost.

Selwyn District Councillors will today decide how to allocate the more than $19,500 in public donations to the Selwyn Rd Fire Relief Fund, set up after the January 10 blaze.

The fire started on private land behind a quarry and affected about 30 properties, including 20 households, over 150 hectares near Selwyn,  Shands and Robinsons roads.

Two homes were destroyed.

About $5420 of the donations was specifically requested to be given to the two affected families - Deanna and David Hartley; and Bev Throsby and her daughters, Amy, 20, and Maria, 18.

Those donations will be deposited into their accounts in March.

Council staff have recommended the remaining $14,000 be divided, with $10,000 going to the Broadfield community and $4100 remaining in the Mayor's Earthquake Relief Fund for distribution to individual applicants.

Meanwhile, three investigators tasked with determining the cause of the blaze are expected to provide the council with a draft report on Friday.

Selwyn District Council corporate services manager Douglas Marshall it was likely this would be peer-reviewed before the findings were made public, due to ''sensitivities'', including the potential for liability.

The final bill for fighting the fire is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If someone is found to be at fault for causing the fire, the council may seek to recover costs.

Meanwhile, a prohibited fire season will resume in the Selwyn District from 12.01am on Friday.
Under the restrictions no outdoor fires can be lit.

Council principal rural fire officer Wilson Brown said the fire risk in the Selwyn district remained ''extreme''.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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