Christchurch Port Hills fire: Family opens up about their loss

Newshub was with a Christchurch family on Friday when they first saw the extent of their loss from the Port Hills fire.

Nothing was recognisable at the Grace family home. There was just "nothing left", said Simon Grace who grew up in the house.

Not only is he devastated about losing his home, he's angry over this photo the family took on Tuesday morning.

Christchurch professional fire crew parked outside the Grace family's house (Simon Grace)
A Christchurch professional fire crew parked outside the Grace family's house (Simon Grace)

"Once we noticed the fire had started, [my] mum, brother and some friends of ours noticed the fire truck outside our house," says Mr Grace.

"[They] went to see them and got told they weren't required because the Selwyn guys had it under control, which clearly they didn't."

The Selwyn crew was the rural fire team which initially responded to the blaze.

Mr Grace claims the professional firefighters were frustrated they couldn't help.

"By the look of it there were plenty of guys there and they were all eager to have a crack at it and get involved, but it was out of their hands."

Selwyn District Council, which represents the rural fire officers, didn't want to comment about this particular case because an operational review will happen when the fire is fully extinguished.

They did however say this is one of the most complex fires in recent years, and with a fire like this with intense wind and heat, extra care has to be taken as to how close firefighters can get.

"We've been through a bit lately with the earthquakes and what not and this is just another kick in the guts," says Mr Grace.

He believes there needs to be more communication between rural and professional firefighters, and says changes must be made.