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Dargaville’s most disastrous fire since 1961 has sent shockwaves through the community, says Kaipara Mayor Neil Tiller who extends his sympathies to everyone involved with the five businesses affected.
Monday evening’s blaze in lower Victoria Street gutted the large Foster’s Home Decorating store, the adjoining Main Street Interiors, Red Cross Opportunity Shop plus Lyndsey Bargh Physiotherapy and also damaged the Blockbuster Video Shop.
“After celebrating our town’s centenary only months ago this is a horrible way to start 2009” the Mayor says.
“Apart from the shattering personal blow to the owners and employees who will lose business and income at a critical time the town will lose the services of these businesses, at least temporarily, as well as part of its historic skyline.”
“The affected businesses all play a valuable role in the community and Fosters Home Decorating is an extremely successful and progressive family enterprise that is the one of the largest retail stores in Dargaville’s Victoria Street.”
“I hope they can all re-establish and will be back in business as soon as possible. Certainly we will be doing everything we can to help facilitate this.”
Mayor Tiller says Council is working with the New Zealand Fire Service and Police and that the affected areas will remain cordoned off while they carry out their investigations.
In the meantime Council is preparing demolition orders which will be served on the owners as soon as the New Zealand Fire Service and Police give an all-clear. It will then be up to the building’s owners and insurers to arrange clearance of the site.
Mayor Tiller has praised the actions of emergency services in controlling such a large blaze.
“There were more than 60 people involved, including at least 40 firefighters from the New Zealand Fire Service and Volunteer Rural Fire Forces, plus Dargaville and Whangarei Police, Ambulance personnel, Northpower and others.
“They all did an exceptional job controlling a fire that had the potential to spread a lot further than it did.”