New Zealand fire fighters were showered with asbestos earlier this week when they fought to tackle a blaze that took place in Rangiora. The fire started in a car park behind the North Canterbury war memorial, and it spread to the extent that two shops ended up gutted because of the fire. It is thought that the fire may have been started deliberately.

Police and fire officers are investigation the blaze, and while they were trying to bring the blaze under control firefighters found themselves being showered with deadly asbestos rain. The asbestos that was causing the problems was coming from the roof of the building.

One fire fighter stated: “The main problem was the asbestos in the roof of the building. At one stage, with the heat of the fire, the asbestos was exploding and the fire officers were showered with it. We had to be careful how we attacked it.”

A number of fires have occurred over recent weeks according to officials. One officer stated: “We have had a lot of malicious fires but no buildings have been set alight until now. They have mainly been grass fires, car fires at the river, whether it’s escalated to this or a different event I don’t know, but it’s certainly concerning.”

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