25 May 2013

Ladder truck 'not needed' to fight Queenstown fires

9:15 pm on 25 May 2013

The man in charge of the fire service in Queenstown says the town does not need a ladder truck.

A source inside the service has said that crews fighting Friday's fire at a two-storey bar in the town would have been frustrated having to wait two hours for a ladder truck to arrive from Invercargill.

Queenstown businessman Alastair Porter says the fire has highlighted the need for a such a truck to be based there.

However, fire service area manager Keith McIntosh says multi-storey fires can be tackled without the use of ladder trucks.

He says Queenstown did have one up until a year ago but it was decided not to replace it - it would have cost more than $1 million to do so.

The source has told Radio New Zealand News it was considered too expensive to maintain, so it was replaced with a standard unit.

Mr McIntosh says investigators have begun the work of establishing the cause of the fire, which started at 3.30pm in the kitchen of a Shotover St pizza parlour and spread to the World Bar upstairs.

The source says by the time the ladder truck arrived, the building was well alight and the roof had collapsed.

There are several multi-storey buildings in Queenstown, including at least seven hotels.