On Fire

Principal reflects on fire

Apr 5th, 2018 | By

Today, like April 5, 2008, was a stunningly beautiful, warm, Waikato day with blue sky overhead and crunchy, autumn leaves underfoot.

Then the neighbourhood blew up, transformed in nanoseconds into a frightening, confusing nightmare of noise, chaos, roaring flames and a huge, black mushroom cloud funnelling high into the sky.

Ten years on, Tamahere School principal Waveney Parker has recalled the school community’s many courageous roles that afternoon, and in the weeks ahead.



Suffering and superheroes: fire anniversary

Mar 31st, 2018 | By

The 10th anniversary of the fatal Icepak Tamahere fire has prompted another publication to look back a decade to April 5, 2008.

Raewyn Koppens describes the day she thought she’d died as an experience coloured with suffering and superheroes, reports the Waikato Times.

The light of a warm Saturday afternoon turned to darkness, and through a smokey haze, figures began to appear.



Icepak fire 10 years on

Mar 24th, 2018 | By

As the 10th anniversary of the fatal Icepak Tamahere fire draws near news publications are looking back on the April 5, 2008 event.

In a feature story, the NZ Herald has checked on the surviving firefighters to find their memories of the day and where they are now.

Merv Neil says the blast felt like a big kick up the backside. As he struggled to his feet he was engulfed in an orange ball of flame. Shielding himself, he briefly looked up to see an enormous cloud of smoke in the sky.



Appeal over Icepak site

Feb 20th, 2018 | By

An appeal has been lodged on the decision to decline a precedent-setting residential subdivision on the the former Icepak Coolstores site.

The site owner, former Icepak director Wayne Grattan, is appealing the resource consent decision by an independent commissioner on grounds including that undue weight was put on the precedent-setting nature of the subdivision.

Waikato District Council Hearing Commissioner David Hill said in January that the application to subdivide the 2.1ha Devine Rd block into six lots could not be justified.



Icepak subdivision declined

Jan 12th, 2018 | By

A bid to subdivide the former Icepak Coolstores site into a precedent setting number of residential blocks has been declined.

In a decision released yesterday, Waikato District Council Hearing Commissioner David Hill said the application to subdivide the 2.1ha block into six lots, all less than the 5,000 square metres provided in the district plan, could not be justified.

The application, which came almost 10 years after the Devine Rd site was razed by an explosion and fire that killed a fireman, was made by former Icepak managing director Wayne Grattan.



Icepak site sale disappoints

Jun 3rd, 2016 | By

The sale this week of the former Icepak site has failed to sever links with its tragic past.

The derelict site in central Tamahere was bought by one of the architects of the tragedy that cost the life of a firefighter in 2008, former Icepak director Wayne Grattan.

Grattan, who was personally fined $30,000 for his part in the death of firefighter Derek Lovell and injury to seven others, paid $865,000 for the former coolstore site where the disaster played out eight years ago.



Icepak site on market again

May 2nd, 2016 | By

The derelict, former Icepak Coolstores site in central Tamahere is again on the market.

More than two years on from the last prospective sale the abandoned, concrete covered site, now a magnet for skateboarders, is being touted to builders.

Marketing signs went up around the 2ha site on the corner of Devine and Koppens Rd last Friday promoting it for lifestyle block subdivision.



Coolstore blast survivor retires

May 20th, 2015 | By

Dennis Wells is a lucky man in more than one way.

The 67-year-old Hamilton fire officer has completed 40 years on the job and retired this week.

Two things make Wells lucky. Firstly, he’s always loved his job and secondly, he was one of the fire crew to survive the Icepak Coolstore explosion at Tamahere in April 2008.



Fire site now ‘ghetto spot’

Apr 5th, 2015 | By

Click, click, whirr, scrape, slide, chat and laughter – they’re some of the sounds commonly emanating from the abandoned Icepak Coolstores site on Devine Rd these days.

The concrete slabs left behind after the coolstores were removed by fire or the dismantlers were long ago colonised by enterprising skaterboarders.

The unofficial skateboard park or “ghetto spot” is a magnet for skaters from pre-teen learners to the very skilled and experienced, who occasionally showcase their thrills and spills in YouTube videos like this one.



Going, going …

Nov 3rd, 2013 | By

The last Icepak coolstore is shrinking in size daily as work continues to dismantle and relocate it.

In the last couple of weeks the sole survivor of the 2008 fire has shrunk by two thirds as panels have been removed from a cool room at one end of the building and the steel trussed verandah dismantled with the help of a crane at the other.

With just one cool room to go, and at the rate of work so far, the building could be expected to be gone entirely within a week.