Asbestos risk after red-zone arson

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 14:55 18/12/2013
Pines Beach fire
Stacy Squires

ASBESTOS RISK: This red-zoned home in Pines Beach has been fenced off pending demolition because of an asbestos risk.

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A red-zoned property razed by a suspected arson in Pines Beach will be urgently demolished because of the asbestos risk it poses.

Fire service southern communications centre shift manager Andrew Norris said the blaze was reported just after 11pm yesterday.

''I don't know what state the property was in before the fire but it was extensively damaged as a result.''

Crews from Kaiapoi and Pines Beach volunteer station battled the fire, at 41 Dunns Ave, for close to three hours.

The Crown-owned property would be demolished as soon as possible, Norris said.

Fire safety investigations coordinator Detective Sergeant Craig Farrant said red-zone arsons were a concern for both people illegally living in properties and the firefighters and investigators that attend the blaze.

At a recent trans-Tasman forum on managing asbestos risks in the rebuild, several speakers mentioned the potential health risk of arsons for firefighters.

Damage to a property that contains asbestos can cause fibres to become friable - meaning they could be inhaled - by people in close contact with contaminated material.

''Going into earthquake-damaged properties is a concern ... and properties that are an asbestos risk are an even greater concern,'' Farrant said.

He understood the property would be urgently demolished as a result of the fire and subsequent health risk.

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