Early morning fire at the Nun

FIRE all but destroyed a recreational building at the Flying Nun backpackers in Roebuck Road in the early hours of this morning.

A passing police patrol saw the fire at about 2.30am and raised the alarm.

Police and backpackers staff went room-to-room evacuating more than 40 residents of the adjacent backpackers accommodation building.

One of the managers, Cushla Yager, said everyone was OK.

“They were all evacuated to the other side of Roebuck Road,” she said.

Resident Adrien Granger from Paris said they were all asleep in their rooms when the fire broke out.

“My room was opposite where the fire was burning,” he said.

“Out my window I could see big flames going very high in the air.”

Mr Granger said it was a bit scary but they felt safe.

“We never felt as if we were in any danger.

“The firemen were very fast and they had the fire under control,” he said.

Three fire appliances responded to the call, along with a command vehicle and another support vehicle. Seventeen firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze.

Senior Station Officer Bernie Bull said the outbuilding, which measured about 8 x 6 metres, was totally involved in fire when they arrived.

“It was more than four metres away from the main accommodation building, so there was plenty of separation.

“The fire posed no danger to the main building,” he said.

“It took us about half an hour to contain it and we were at the scene till about 7am dampening down the remains.”

He describes damage to the games room as “substantial”.

Snr Stn Off Bull said the cause of the blaze was still to be established.

Police had the building cordoned off this morning while the fire scene was examined for clues by a fire investigator and police.

“The cause is under investigation,” a CIB spokesman said.

Cushla Yager said the games room was built about 10 years ago when the backpackers was established.

“We will have to give some thought to how we will replace it.

“It’s a good thing everyone got out OK. They were all so patient and well behaved,” she said.

“The police and firemen did a marvellous job.”


Gisborne District Council has decided not to proceed with a free parking trial in September, from 3-5pm, after the 8.30-10.30am trial in August. The cost of the extended trial was estimated at $11,000; the aim was to boost shopping in the CBD.

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