No sprinklers, no alarms at church housing damaged by fire in Māngere Bridge

The blaze damaged four buildings behind a Tongan church in Māngere Bridge. Photo: RNZ

The blaze damaged four buildings behind a Tongan church in Māngere Bridge. Photo: RNZ

Families who lost their homes in a fire in Auckland’s Māngere Bridge are lucky to be alive, Fire and Emergency (FENZ) believes.

Four families have been displaced after their homes burnt to the ground on Coronation Road around 3am.

FENZ assistant commander Chris Delfos said there were no sprinklers and no evidence of smoke alarms in the church buildings housing families in need.

FENZ was concerned at the number of people staying in the buildings. Delfos told Midday Report they were more like garages, rather than houses.

“We didn’t see or hear any smoke alarms. There definitely weren’t any sprinklers in the building, either. It was very lucky that all of these people got out of the fire in time.”

Delfos said the blaze appeared to be an electrical fire.

“It was very lucky that all of these people got out of the fire in time” – FENZ assistant commander Chris Delfos

The buildings are owned by the Akoteu Faka-Kalisitiane Ko Namoa church.

Meanwhile, public health officials are assessing the risk of asbestos to the Māngere Bridge community after the fire, because of the age of the buildings that were destroyed.

Nearby schools and an early childhood centre have been asked to keep their children inside until the risk is known and further advice can be given.

Namoa Pre-school, which is on the church’s site, is closed until further notice.

FENZ has dampened down areas close to the fire site to reduce any spread of asbestos fibres, if they are present.

Te Whatu Ora says that, combined with a lack of wind, meant there was a low risk for other Māngere Bridge properties.

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