More than 12 years after the tragic 22 February 2011 earthquake the 7th and last fire station re-build will be celebrated with the official opening of the Christchurch City Station.
It has been a long haul and struggle for the city’s firefighters who have preserved to rebuild over the past 12 years and transition into seven new stations, four built on new sites.
Within days the Fire Service required firefighters to focus on BAU tasks and response while working in and from significantly damaged stations. The members put their community first and continued to work despite the horrific conditions at work. For many there was no relief with having to contend with seriously damaged homes and dealing with the endless bureaucracy of insurance claims and government processes. We also acknowledge their families who suffered for many years with their sub-standard homes and the absence of their firefighters who continued to respond to the community.
The NZPFU recognises the commitment and dedication of the Local Officials and committees over that period who were instrumental in dealing with the significant day-today struggles as well as actively pushing for the new stations to be built to a high standard that would meet the needs of the brigades now and in the future. This was at times a thankless role and required diligence and tenacity to push for consultation and to be heard on design including ensuring temporary locations were fit for purpose. In particular we acknowledge the work of Jim Ryburn and Aaron McKay lead those battles on behalf of all Christchurch members.
Some of the hardships on station included.
- City Appliances responding from and parked undercover in the middle of Kilmore St responding through army checkpoints.
- Members housed in shipping containers ( 4 stations)
- Leaking containers which FENZ took 18 months to correct
- Temporary accommodation including working out of backpacker accommodation
- Spreydon Staff working from temporary day shift base and shared station night shifts (responding out of own patch at night for 18 months)
- Specialist Appliances moved around stations (ladder, command unit, ISV etc)
- Areas of city station deemed uninhabitable
- Staff continually told that remaining at the significantly damaged city station site would be temporary but they were there for over 8 years
- Black mould found at St Alban station
- Lack of consultation around temporary sites and ensuring they were fit for purpose with FENZ wanting to house staff in windowless accommodation.
- Appliance lost from City as moved permanently to the East side (now ANZAC Station)
- Loss of 3 SSO’s (did have 8 in city now only 4 with one being established at ANZAC)