Swimming pool saves house and helps firefighters dealing with Christchurch Port Hills blaze

Pilot Mark Read flies towards the Newbury's swimming pool to fill his monsoon bucket.
Simon Duncan

Pilot Mark Read flies towards the Newbury's swimming pool to fill his monsoon bucket.

The last tile on Miranda and Craig Newbury's pool was only stuck on two weeks ago.

Little did the couple know that the pool would end up saving their Worsleys Rd home and probably others' when fire engulfed the area on Wednesday night.

The Christchurch couple evacuated their home on Wednesday afternoon with the fire crackling and billowing smoke on the east boundary of their home. They had to leave quickly and left behind tabby cats Stevie and Daisy, who are sisters.

The Newburys' house, surrounded by devastation in Worsleys Rd, was saved because fire crews needed the pool.
DAVID WALKER/FAIRFAX NZ

The Newburys' house, surrounded by devastation in Worsleys Rd, was saved because fire crews needed the pool.

As they waited to return home on Thursday morning, they feared the worst although the house from the flat at Cashmere at least looked like it was standing.

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Police ferried the couple and a neighbour to their properties on Friday morning. 

"We've gone through the property. It's unscathed," Miranda Newbury said.

"The helicopters used the pool to deal with the fire. They were able to keep filling it from a fire hydrant outside the property and therefore they protected our home to protect their resource. And by default we've been the lucky recipients. It's unbelievable.

"We haven't found the cats. It's the helicopters. It's too noisy. We suspect it could be another few days before we go back in there and then they will probably come home. I've got a good feeling about it. They are pretty smart."

Miranda Newbury's neighbour Ken Reese, a resident of the area for 40 years, was not so lucky.
MIRANDA NEWBURY

Miranda Newbury's neighbour Ken Reese, a resident of the area for 40 years, was not so lucky.

Newbury said the house was surrounded by a scene of devastation.

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"The landscape has changed enormously. Houses all around have been flattened. It's incredible.

"It's still smouldering around us. There are diggers next door to our property digging up the dirt and there is smoke coming out the dirt and if they left that it could reignite and that's why they are getting stuck in.

Pool saved house: Miranda Newbury took this photo minutes before evacuating the home she shares with husband Craig and ...
MIRANDA NEWBURY

Pool saved house: Miranda Newbury took this photo minutes before evacuating the home she shares with husband Craig and their daughters in upper Worsley Road.

"The house smells incredibly smoky. But the house is there, we have got our home. We have lost the whole east and north west boundaries. We have a lot of work to do. We are going to have to re-fence and replant."

The power was still out at the house on Friday and Newbury said she was impressed by the power crews who were coming up the road with new poles to replace ones that had been damaged.

"I saw them already putting them in the ground. That is just unbelieveable."

Miranda Newbury on Thursday when she didn't know about the fate of her house on Worsleys Road.
Iain McGregor

Miranda Newbury on Thursday when she didn't know about the fate of her house on Worsleys Road.

About midday on Friday, the couple were counting their lucky stars at their favourite cafe in the Cracroft shops.

"It's terribly sad but we are hugging and celebrating. All our neighbours are talking about coming back and rebuilding. This is not going to stop us living up there."

"We were just really, really lucky," she said.

 - Stuff

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