Crash and flash floods keep brigade busy

An overturned concrete truck, a lighting strike and the flooded basement of a bank were among the emergencies dealt with by the Cambridge Volunteer Fire Brigade as heavy rain rolled over the region.

Metservice issued a thunderstorm warning for the Waikato about 4.30pm and the heavens did not disappoint with reports of flash flooding, particularly in the Waipa district.

Cambridge senior fire station officer Dennis Hunt said the action for his crew began about 5pm yesterday when the brigade joined other emergency services dealing with a concrete truck which had overturned on State Highway 1, southeast of Cambridge near Hickey Rd.

"The truck rolled outside the Cambridge golf club. The driver wasn't hurt but the truck was across the road with concrete seeping out of it," Hunt said yesterday.

Police could not say whether the rain had a part to play in the incident. There were no injuries.

There were traffic delays on the busy state highway and police worked to clear the crash while people made their way home.

"We actually had to leave that one in the hands of the police because we were called to another incident," Hunt said, indicating there was heavy rain particularly on Cambridge and Leamington.

"We had some flooding at a garage on Shakespeare St in Leamington and we had to use pumps to get the water out," Hunt said.

The brigade went on to deal with a lightning strike which set a power pole on fire near Maungatautari as the thunderstorm reached its peak.

"There were bigger flooded areas in town [Cambridge].

"Behind the Westpac bank, there's a basement there and that took in quite a bit of water so we had two big pumps working there to get the water out," Hunt said.

The brigade also dealt with a second flooding incident at a residential address in Cambridge as the rain eased.

"I can't believe the amount of rain we've had in such a short period of time and I'm surprised we didn't get more calls, to be honest."

Hunt said the brigade's three trucks and 12 volunteers were needed to deal with yesterday's run of emergency calls.

Emergency services also reported a rubbish fire which may have been ignited by a lightning strike about 6.20pm on a rural property near Te Kowhai. 

Waikato Times