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Fire safety . . . Timaru fire risk management officer Craig Chambers inspects the kitchen of the Wai-iti Road house that was extensively damaged by fire in August. The house was later opened to the public for a day so people could see the risk of fires. PHOTO: THE COURIER FILES

2018 was an eventful year for South Canterbury. The Courier reporters Greta Yeoman, Claire Allison and Chris Tobin look back at some of the leading stories of the year’s papers.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand held an open home with a difference in August, opening up to the public a property in Wai-iti Rd that had been extensively damaged by fire.

Fire risk management officer Craig Chambers said the event had involved much work for local staff, and was only possible given the support from property owner Housing New Zealand.

“By the end of it, we had close to 1000 people go through the house, just over 800 on the day, and we had some follow-up visits with different groups across the community.”

Mr Chambers told The Courier in December that given the positive response, Fenz would hold a similar event again if the opportunity arose.

A close call involving unattended cooking in Timaru in the past fortnight showed fire safety education was still needed.

“We need to keep reiterating, it only takes a minute, so please, if you do leave the kitchen while you’re cooking, turn everything off. It’s really important.”