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Claims adventure park chairlift spread Port Hills blaze

Newshub logoNewshub 18/07/2017 Newshub staff
The Port Hills fire raged on for a number of days. © Supplied The Port Hills fire raged on for a number of days.

Video has emerged appearing to show chairlifts at the Christchurch Adventure Park starting fires during the Port Hills blaze earlier this year.

Kieran Grace's house was one of a number of houses destroyed by the inferno on February 15, two days after the fire broke out.

In the recently released video, Mr Grace says he is "absolutely appalled at [it] showing the Christchurch Adventure Park chairlift starting new fires" near his property on Worsleys Rd.

"Why wasn't it [the chairlift] shut off at some stage, when they knew the fire was in the adventure park?" he told Fairfax.

"The fire didn't spread through the bike park. These are new fires being ignited at a closer range to populated areas."

Mr Grace told Fairfax he believed the cause was the plastic chairs dripping flammable material onto the ground as the chairlift went up and down the hill.

A number other residents who also lost their homes are considering legal action.

Christchurch Adventure Park spokeswoman Anne Newman told Newshub that running the chairlifts during a fire is "standard operating procedure" and it was left running to prevent any one part of the chairlift cable being damaged or breaking because of the heat.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand says it's aware of the video and it's part of the wider operational review into the fires.

Port Hills fire being treated as 'suspicious' - authorities

The video comes after police confirmed they are treating the cause of the Port Hills fire as suspicious.

Police are seeking new information in relation to the criminal investigation launched into the cause of the fire that started at Marley's Hill.

The Port Hills fire started as two separate fires on February 13, one at Marley's Hill and the other at Early Valley Rd.

Those later merged into one devastating blaze two days later that razed more than 3000 hectares of land over a number of days.

What happened:

  • Fire started on February 13
  • Two separate fires joined into one fire on February 15
  • Forced the evacuations of thousands in surrounding areas
  • Helicopter pilot Steve Askin, a decorated former SAS soldier, killed on February 14 after dropping monsoon bucket full of water while fighting the fire
  • Total cost of resources to fight the fire: $7.9 million

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