The Upper Hutt Leader
27th February 2008

A Whiteman's Valley six-year-old was among those who raised the alarm over a fire in scrub beside a power pylon near the entrance to Stokes Valley. The pylon carries major power supplies from Haywayds to Gracefield.

Ingrid McCracken and her son Jesse were eating ice-creams on the Hutt Riverbank (having decided against swiming because of toxic algae) at Silverstream when Jesse spotted smoke behind Silverstream Retreat. They borrowed a phone from contractor Ray Purser who was working by the river and phoned 111. Ingrid says the Fire Service knew of the fire but the call helped pinpoint its exact location.

Stokes Valley Fire Station chief Stewart Walker said his volunteers were called first and then called in the Wainuiomata Bush Fire Force to relieve them. He says flames were four metres high and close to a power pylon near Kingsley Street. Prompt access from Kingsley Street stopped the fire getting any worse and the risk of carbon deposits causing power cuts.

Rebecca Wilson, communications manager for Transpower NZ, said yesterday the pylons carried 110kV supply from Haywards to Gracefield. A transmission fault had been ruled out as the cause of the fire as there had not been any faults on the line that day, she said. The fire was close to one leg of the pylon. The greatest danger would be if heavy carbon smoke was produced but it had not been great enough to affect the lines, she said.