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Fire danger as power restored after quake

Published: 4:09PM Saturday September 04, 2010 Source: ONE News

A building in the centre of quake-ravaged Christchurch burst into flames this afternoon but was quickly brought under control.

The fire is believed to have been caused by a combination of the power being restored and a gas leak.

The Fire Service is also facing problems with water supply and pressure.

Meanwhile, Christchurch residents are being urged to check their chimneys before they light their fires this evening.

Christchurch fire chief Dan Coward said people should stay away from the centre of town and be aware that there are things they need to do at home.

He said chimneys should be checked thoroughly for obvious cracks or significant damage.

Coward told ONE News people have rallied to help and have been turning up to fire stations with refreshments but they also need to realise that checks need to be made around their homes, including making sure that their smoke alarms are working.

With power coming on and off, Coward said it is vital to ensure electrical plugs haven't been overloaded or damaged in a way that could cause a fire.

He is pleased locals have heeded calls to stay away from town and said the service needs to get staff and equipment through the area freely without being hindered by people.

The Fire Service has dealt with a variety of calls but most involve damage to properties, including industrial sites where stored chemicals have posed a risk.

Engineers have been assessing damaged buildings and prioritising which structures could be further damaged by aftershocks.

He said there is a risk to the public of further falling objects if they venture into the city.

Are you in the Canterbury region? Share your experiences of the earthquake on our messageboard at the end of this article.

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  • gordy said on 2010-09-09 @ 13:59 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Im my 51 years on this earth I have never felt so first thoughts was we had been hit by a nuclear bomb and it was Armageddon. Never ever want to experience it again

  • schicken said on 2010-09-08 @ 19:15 NZDT: Report abusive post

    I thought the same thing initially. However, another quake big enough to close or shift the cracks further is likely to be heard first and all the kids will most likely be fine. If a child does get swallowed up, I'm probably not going to have huge empathy for the media coverage or their parents, but until then, let the region have a little bit of fun. Education about health risks regarding contaminated water may be a good idea for all. :)

  • thinkaboutit said on 2010-09-06 @ 23:06 NZDT: Report abusive post

    More great coverage tonight TVNZ especially highlighting the situation at individual community levels where people reported they felt abandoned. All credit to those organising themselves into community working groups at this level despite this. Arguably the recovery process would be greatly enhanced if these community groups were psychologically and practically supported by establishing official coordination centres at individual community levels.

  • Madeleine Ware said on 2010-09-06 @ 17:31 NZDT: Report abusive post

    You're making some good points here. Perhaps some of the donations could be towards purchasing and setting up storage of these sorts of things. Individuals are also responsible for making their own preparations. I clean and keep old 3L juice bottles filled with water. Every now and then I water my house plants with one and refill it to refresh it.

  • Madeleine Ware said on 2010-09-06 @ 17:25 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Why are they buying water? Aren't there several tankers about the city giving it away?