• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

When a group of builders saw a fire was threatening a Christchurch home, they sprang into action.

Jan 26, 2021

Builder Cheyenne Salter was working on a roof in Christchurch’s Port Hills when he spotted flames heading towards a house.
He raced to the property and joined a group of other tradies who used buckets and a sprinkler to tackle the tornadoes of fire heading towards them.
At one point, Salter was in a pool filling buckets when he had to fully submerge to escape the scalding heat.
Annabel Phillipsons house is the one with the scaffolding on the left side of this photograph.
Firefighters and helicopter pilots battled the blaze in Redcliffs on Monday afternoon as flames came within metres of homes.
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Annabel Phillipsons home in John Monck Ln was among those threatened by the fire.
Annabel Phillipson with her dog Andie. Her home was dangerously close to the flames during Mondays fire in Redcliffs.
Builders constructing a double-garage and bedroom on her land saw the flames and quickly raised the alarm.
One of them knocked on the door and said theres a fire down the hill and it looks like its coming this way, Phillipson said.
She began gathering the familys valuables, while her 23-year-old daughter, Juliette, joined the builders in trying to douse the flames.
The trees below the new building caught alight, meaning the fire was actually burning underneath the house.
I was terrified.
Juliette and Annabel Phillipson gather valuables after police told them to evacuate their family home due to a fire on Monday afternoon.
Salter began filling buckets to throw on the flames that were raging right by the house.
A couple of other builders were there, and we helped the people out of the house and got a hose and were spraying water where we could, he said.
It was amazing the way it hit; there were like tornadoes of fire.
The fire came too close and Salter’s leg got a little scorched.
Cheyenne Salter is one of the builders who fought the fire by scooping water directly from a swimming pool.
I was half in the pool with buckets and the fire got a little close; I had to get fully in the pool to stop getting toasted.
Phillipson said she was very grateful for the builders help.
It was our builder Connor and some others. My daughter joined them, they were pouring water from the pool onto the flames.
The fire truck had got there, but they didnt have their hoses out in time so those guys stopped [the house from] setting alight. We were very lucky.
Nanny Zoe Le Gros, left, was looking after Zoe, 7, when the fire forced them to flee. Homeowners Terri and Travis Taiaroa, pictured with Zane, 2, returned home to find their street was closed due to the fire.
Travis Taiaroa’s home in John Monck Ln was also evacuated after flames came within 15 metres.
We didn’t know if we were going to lose the house or not.
Their neighbours homes were pretty close to being lost, he said.
If you look at it from the air, we were probably one helicopter drop away from losing the house.
The fire was extinguished and crews left the scene early on Tuesday morning.
A fire in Pines Beach, in the Waimakariri district just north of the city, also forced several residents to flee their homes on Monday.
The fire, which sent flames soaring 12 metres into the air, tore through about 31 hectares of scrub near the coastal settlement and continued burning overnight. Firefighters were continuing to battle the blaze on Tuesday, which was about 60 per cent contained by mid-afternoon.