On Fire

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.



Icepak investigator honoured

Jun 1st, 2012 | By

The Labour Department expert who investigated the Icepak fire at Tamahere has been honoured.

Keith Stewart, one of the department’s leading health and safety experts, has been given a lifetime achievement award for his 35 years of dedication to workplace health and safety in New Zealand.

He was honoured for his contribution and commitment to health and safety at this year’s Workplace Health and Safety Awards gala dinner in Auckland on Thursday.



More deaths without gas controls warns industry

May 7th, 2012 | By

More regulation is needed to prevent a recurrence of the Tamahere Icepak tragedy, says a leader in the refrigeration industry.

“We need more regulation to prevent similar tragedies,” says Rob Morgan, chair of the Climate Control Companies Association. “What is in place is little known and insufficient.

“There is licensing for many trades, including plumbers, roofers and electricians; the person who fills up your gas bottle at the petrol station needs to be an approved HSNO filler, but anyone can install flammable refrigerants into a large system.”



Lovell last coolstore blast victim hopes coroner

Mar 22nd, 2012 | By

Just two weeks short of the fourth anniversary of the tragic Icepak Coolstores explosion Hamilton Coroner Peter Ryan has released his findings on the death at Tamahere of senior firefighter Derek Lovell.

Derek Lovell, 49, died of traumatic injuries from an explosion on April 5, 2008 at the Devine Rd coolstore facility when he and seven other firefighters responded to a fire alarm triggered by a major leak of highly flammable LPG refrigerant.

Following an inquest held over three-days in September 2011 the Coroner made a number of recommendations designed to prevent further deaths occurring in similar circumstances.



Gas fears spread to UK

Oct 7th, 2011 | By

Concerns have been raised by British refrigeration engineers over the flammable nature of next-generation refrigerants like the one that caused the fatal 2008 explosion at Tamahere.

RAC, the UK Refrigeration and Air Conditioning magazine, reported that industry concerns were growing over a surge in the use of flammable refrigerants and a lack of controls over who could buy them.

“It follows an inquest in New Zealand which heard that the refrigeration industry there does not have enough skilled staff to deal with the imminent growth of flammable hydrocarbons.”



World monitors Tamahere event

Sep 14th, 2011 | By

Tamahere was put on the world map by the 2008 Icepak tragedy and the aftermath continues to attract global interest.

“A Coronial Inquest into the world’s most severe incident involving hydrocarbon refrigerants in New Zealand has been held recently,” reports hydrocarbons21.com.