At some time or another all brigades have incidents which are somewhat out of the ordinary and Porirua has been no exception. For instance a “111” call was placed with the brigade for a house fire at the Porirua Pa and at exactly the same time a “111” call was placed with the Police for a drowning at Titahi Bay. Both services were despatched with sirens wailing, and one followed the other thinking that they were both going to the same incident. however, the fire appliance turned off at the Pa, and the Police car carried on to the Bay, and on arrival had to despatch their car back to the fire appliance to get the resuscitator they thought was on its way.
A further claim to the unusual by the Porirua Brigade could be that they are the only brigade in the country which has had the same house burnt down three times. This was a State unit in Gear Terrace which was gutted during completion when a plumbers welding torch burnt through the hose lines of his welding gear. the house was completely rebuilt and occupied , and was burnt down again. Once more it was rebuilt and occupied only to be burnt out a third time. It is now occupied for the third time and it is hoped that there will be no more trouble.
Pictured above is a house in Gear Terrace, Porirua after three rooms had been gutted on the 5th of September 1966. This was the third time that such a fate had befallen the same building, for on the 8th of November 1959 the hose was completely burnt out as finishing touches were being applied prior to being handed over to the State Advances Corporation. The dwelling was completely rebuilt only to be burnt out again shortly afterwards.
Porirua Brigade could also lay claim to the first television set fire which occurred in a house in Elsdon in June 1962.
Then there was the night a fire was reported off the coast of Titahi bay but no specific information could be given. the duty officer of the day decided to contact the pilot of an N.A.C. flight that had flown over the area about the time. And on information given by the pilot the D.O. left for the top of Terace Road in Titahi Bay and from there was able to confirm a fire of reasonable proportions on Mana Island. With the co-operation of the Police and the tenant of the homestead on Mana Island a launch was laid on and the Duty Officer was transported post haste to Mana Island only to find a group of keen fisherman sitting in front of a large nob-fire. They were told in no uncertain terms of the panic they had created and that any fire lit on the particular spit of land they were on constituted a distress signal, and were then left to their fishing.
More often than not the fire service goes about it’s job and is taken for granted by the majority but on some occasions we get a shot in the arm in the form of an editorial in the local paper or someone makes verbal comment that makes the whole job worthwhile.
one particular smoky job had the boys at full stretch, not only fighting the fire but cleaning the hundreds of feet of hose afterwards and the remarks that appeared in the next issue of the local paper we think deserve space in this booklet.
Sir, On behalf of the people of the Maori Pa Porirua, would like to express through your columns our very deep appreciation for the services of the Fire Brigade from Titahi Bay, Porirua, and Tawa Flat Stations. They were magnificent in action. Some of them were only lads but in this great emergency they lived up to the traditions of the fire brigade. Without the fire brigade we think more than one of our houses would have been burned. Our gratitude and thank you can better be expressed in our Maori tongue. “Rangatira Ma, Tena Koutou Tena Koutou tena koutou” We would also like to say thank you to our many Pakeha friends, many joined the fire fighting, many came with refreshments for the workers, and many came to help with the children and babies so that mothers might be free to supervise the moving of their household effects. All were considerate to keep the streets open so that fire engines had a clear way from house to house to get at the water hydrant. To them all we say “Ehoa Ma, Tena Koutou, Tena Joutou, Tena Koutou”. JAMES R. ELKINGTON