On Fire

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.



Coolstore dismantling underway

Oct 14th, 2013 | By

Work to dismantle the last coolstore on the disused Devine Rd Icepak site is into its second week.

The coolstore, the only survivor of the fatal 2008 fire, got a wash down in September and serious efforts to dismantle and remove it began last week.

It is to be relocated to Icepak’s Waharoa site clearing the way for the former commercial zone to return to residential status like the surrounding Tamahere properties.



Landmark of tragedy to go

Sep 9th, 2013 | By

The remaining Icepak coolstore, the only survivor of the devastating 2008 fire, is being prepared for removal.

This week, contractors were on the Devine Rd site washing down the coolstore, which in recent months has been covered in graffiti, before an expected shift to Waharoa.

The coolstore has not been in use since June 2010 after a deal struck between Icepak and the Waikato District Council allowed it to continue to operate for a period following the fatal fire in return for Icepak relinquishing claims to commercial use of the site.



Five years on from Icepak fire

Mar 31st, 2013 | By

Five years ago the Icepak coolstores at Tamahere exploded, killing a fireman, injuring seven others and scarring a community. Philippa Stevenson, a Tamahere resident and journalist, reflects on the tragedy and asks whether it could happen again.

Tamahere Model Country School’s annual Pumpkin Night, held a week ago, was a delight.

As one Pumpkin Night follows another it feels like nothing changes.

But some things certainly need to change. Because Pumpkin Night five years ago ended before it began with a black mushroom cloud blasting and boiled into the sky, taking a life and changing the course of many others forever.



Corporate manslaughter calls grow

Mar 31st, 2013 | By

Growing calls for a corporate manslaughter charge in the wake of the CTV building collapse in Christchurch and the Pike River mine disaster coincide with the fifth anniversary of the fatal Tamahere fire – where a plea was also made for stiffer law.

This week, Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson said he may pursue a law change allowing corporate manslaughter charges in cases like the CTV building collapse in the second earthquake in February 2011, in which 115 people died.

The move was welcomed by Labour’s Justice spokesperson Andrew Little, who has a member’s Bill in Parliament’s ballot that creates a crime of corporate manslaughter.



Fonterra fire case settled

Mar 31st, 2013 | By

Dairy giant Fonterra has settled a claim against companies in the Icepak coolstore group for the loss of $25 million of cheese in the 2008 Tamahere fire that claimed the life of a firefighter.

The case was settled last October in a confidential out-of-court settlement.

In January 2011, Fonterra was given permission to sue the owners of the Tamahere coolstore, Icepak Group Ltd.