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Man watches house catch fire on live TV

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/02/2017

Christchurch residents have watched their homes go up in flames as more than 1000 people have fled the Port Hills fires.

One man even watched his home go up in flames during a live broadcast for TVNZ's Breakfast programme.

The man had been standing near a reporter, watching in isbelief as the fire took hold of the home he had lived in for 25 years, the broadcaster said.

Jasmine Peate-Garratt, meanwhile, was forced to flee her her home just a day after moving in.

She left at midday on Wednesday and was now staying with friends, she told Newshub.

"It seems like it's got out of control pretty fast. It's just been constant helicopters going overhead," she said.

Garth Hammond, like many others, grabbed the family photo albums and hard drives the minute he heard there were evacuations.

His home's quiet, rural street was transformed into a "a main road" because so many people were leaving, he told RadioLIVE.

"It's quite scary. It's just another thing for the people of Christchurch, after all the earthquakes and all the stress and everything that people have been through," he said.

John Gordon had been shocked to discover his home destroyed by fire the morning before, he told Fairfax.

"We heard on the news that one of the houses had gone, but we didn't think it was ours," he said.

"We went up there completely thinking our house was intact and good, totally unaware that our house was flattened."

Social media has also been lighting up with messages of support.

Justin Stuart Photography & Design posted two photos on Facebook, including one showing residents at the end of a suburban street watching a fire front move down a hill, towering over homes.

A post accompanying the pictures stated: "Not what this city needs. Lots of respect to the firefighters doing what they can! stay safe everyone!"

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