Port Hills residents to sue Orion over killer blaze

It's been two years since the Port Hills fires in Christchurch took hold, destroying nine homes and claiming one life.

Now residents are threatening to sue lines company Orion, who they believe is responsible for the fires.

The fires took 66 days to fully extinguish as it burnt through 1600 hectares. The vegetation is growing back, but some residents are left out of pocket.

Resident Ian Duff has spent $100,000 in what's been a huge repair job.

"It's basically been a 365-day-a-year type issue of trying to tidy up the place, restore things - water systems, fences, dealing with all these trees which are burnt and now falling down dangerously," he says.

Now he and other residents want local lines company Orion to cover their costs, saying it is more likely to have started from a blown fuse at a power pole.

"We can demonstrate almost conclusively what started the fire - it's ridiculous to suggest that it was anything other than a fuse blowing on the Orion network," says Port Hills resident Chris Bayley.

They allege three other fires have started the same way nearby and that the out-of-date fuse boards have been scrapped in Australia.

"When the fuse blows it ejects hot metal, it goes into the grass and away she goes," Mr Bayley says.

Orion told Newshub that they cooperated with the investigation and that Fire and Emergency believes that they were deliberately lit.

The 20 affected residents plan to file court action at the end of the week.


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