Firefighters put out farmhouse blaze

Firefighters from St Andrews and Timaru saved a farmhouse from burning down after a large macrocarpa hedge caught fire yesterday morning.

The entire 30-metre long, 2m-wide and 7-m-high windbreak was on fire in close proximity to the house but the St Andrew's fire brigade was able to prevent the fire spreading to the house and was helped by the Timaru crew put it out.

Timaru senior station officer Lex Ferguson said the farmer noticed his lights flickering before the lights went off, and 10 minutes later saw the hedge was on fire. The alarm was raised at 6.30am and it took 90 monutes to get the fire, believed to have been caused by a shorting electrical wire, under control.

"We were quite pleased [with the outcome]. When we got the original call in, it was a house fire. St Andrew's did a brilliant job early enough to cut if off and dampen it down quickly," Mr Ferguson said.

He also said older farmers had a good understanding, compared with modern lifestyle-block owners, of what was required to protect their property from fire. They understood it took time for appliances to get there.

"People tend to forget that, but older farmers are more aware. They seem to be ultra-cautious."

They conserved water for fighting fires and also had setups that allowed room for appliances and firefighting gear to manoeuvre.

Lifestyle-block owners were not generally as prepared, he said.

The Timaru Herald