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Fire that destroyed nearly century-old church 'caused by electrical fault'

The blaze that destroyed the nearly 100-year-old former Kaiti Presbyterian church in Rutene Road on Wednesday was caused by “an electrical event in a switchboard at the rear of the building.”

Specialist fire investigator Derek Goodwin examined the remains of the church and has established that as the cause.

“The fire crews who tackled the fire did an absolutely fabulous job in cutting it off from the rest of the church complex, and from the play centre alongside,” Mr Goodwin said.

“Whatever was going on with that switchboard was a slow progressive fire that people would not have noticed until they could smell smoke or see it. It was an old building and tinder dry.”

Pictures by Paul Rickard unless otherwise stated
A Gisborne Photo News shot of the church taken in 1974.