Planned celebrations for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth that were due to be held on 20 November 1947 were cancelled and flags were instead flown at half mast throughout New Zealand, apart from a few official exemptions on Government Buildings. ; Ballantynes’ Fire resource –Transcripts of articles from newspapers and other sources regarding the Ballantynes’ Fire. Kenneth Ballantyne had found himself trapped. Some staff returned to their work areas after their tea-break while others evacuated the building. 3:31 p.m on the 18th of November, 1947. [4] The business was managed as a series of partnerships involving Ballantyne family members until formed as the company J. Ballantyne & Co. in 1920. They were able to rescue Kenneth Ballantyne when he broke a window and climbed out onto the parapet of the building. This is a sample of photographs of the Ballantynes’ Fire disaster of 18 November 1947. When some minutes later the fire brigade had still not arrived, the salesman began to get concerned. Ballantyne's fire was the fire that changed many rules and regulations in not only the building of commercial buildings but how services responded to such events. A huge three-storey drapery department store Ballantyne's was often busy and on this day there were over 300 customers and dozens of shoppers inside the building. These consisted of 25 bins, two typewriters, several adding machines and a number of boxes of records. The fire at the Ballantynes Department store in Christchurch on 18 November 1947 was the worst fire in New Zealand’s history. At the time of the fire Ballantynes employed 458 people, over 300 of whom were women. Firefighters and Police were able to gain entry to the ground floor about 6 pm, where they found a number of bodies near the exits and others hanging from beams. The Ballantynes Department Store Fire, which occurred at Christchurch on Tuesday the 18th November 1947, is one of New Zealand's greatest tragedies and one of the countries most disastrous fires. Due to the quantity of clothes made on the premises, the buildings were classified as factory buildings, which helped them to pass a Labour Department inspection in 1943. These fact cards are related to the events that unfolded in 1947 when the fire broke out at the Ballantyne's department store in Christchurch, New Zealand. Tardiness is the enemy of some, but it once saved Miss New Zealand from a horrific death. Ballantynes is a well-known department store in Christchurch. There were manually operated fire doors that could be closed across the openings between buildings. In 1947 more than 300 people were employed in the department store of J. Ballantyne & Co, situated on the corner of Colombo Street and Cashel Street in the centre of Christchurch. Ballantynes' Fire 18 November 1947. The fires finally burnt out completely by 8:00pm. The women climbed out the window and jumped, landing on a first-floor veranda. Inasmuch as no requisition was served on Messrs. Ballantynes bv the fire brigade, it cannot be said that there was a breach of the Christchurch Fire Board Fire Escapes By-law, 1930. Date 18 Nov 1947 Ref PAColl-8163-27 Description. The brigade initially thought that the fire was contained to the cellar. The other seven died after they collapsed from smoke inhalation. Smoke and flames masking Dunstable House, part of the department store of J Ballantynes and Company on Colombo Street, Christchurch, during the fire that destroyed the building. 41 people died in total and the fire it is still considered one of New Zealand's worst disasters . Find out…, Local history: organisations & businesses, digitised resources about the Ballantynes' Fire, Ballantynes fire memorial photos at NZ History.net, Christchurch City Libraries' Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. [8] Some showrooms on the ground floor were evacuated by sales employees taking their own initiative, but staff in some of the other showrooms on the ground floor were ordered by management to 'carry on' or 'stand by'. Photo / Supplied At least 680 people were in Ballantynes at the time of the fire - 430 staff and 250 customers. Ballantynes, symbol of an or­derly, correct life, suddenly burst into flame. Another call was made to be certain. In the credit department the office workers waited to shut up the office equipment, then tried to leave by the fire escape, but could not use it because of the smoke and heat. [3] After flashover the first floor was almost instantly consumed by a wall of flame. Ballantynes fire, Christchurch. By now over 200 firefighters using 20 appliances were fighting the blaze, but they were unable to make any headway against the fire. They did not realise that people were trapped on the upper floors of the building. In the most tragic circumstances 41 Two women decided to try the fire escape again, but could not get to it because the roof of the office began to fall in. The fire started just before 11 a.m. at a home on Ballantyne Drive, just east of Portobello Boulevard in Orléans. K41 is the code used when there are fatalities at an incident responded to by Fire and Emergency New Zealand. By 6:00pm firemen, policemen and volunteers were able to begin the search for bodies lying in the charred ruins. The bodies of the 41 victims were buried at Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Bromley, after a civic funeral. Ballantynes Fire Tuesday, November 18, 1947. The first telephone call to the fire brigade was logged at 3:46 pm, though the phone operator simply stated that she was told to inform them there was a cellar fire at Ballantyne's. Staff discovering the fire informed their floor manager upon their own initiative. Ballantynes’ Fire factsheet – An easy to read summary of this disaster. The commission recommended changes in fire prevention and firefighting throughout New Zealand. The 1947 fire at Ballantynes’ Department Store, Christchurch is the worst fire in New Zealand history, killing 41 people. The last bodies were not carried out of the building until 21 November. They spent about 10 minutes searching for the seat of the fire but were unable to locate it. The store's interior partitions had untreated soft wood-fibre linings that had been permitted by the Christchurch City Council contrary to its own bylaws. The senior fire officer ordered a Brigade Call, although that order was only received by the fire station at 4:00 pm. It also recommended urgent changes to the building regulations and fire safety requirements to prevent another similar disaster. From any modern day building inspector, was highly dangerous. The Ballantynes building was a maze, four storeys high in some places, and many parts had no access to a fire escape. After the fire, Ballantynes continued to trade from its undamaged building in Lichfield Street. Deborah Challinor’s novel Fire is a historical romance based on the Ballantynes Fire, but set instead in Auckland 1953. Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the Ballantynes Department Store fire. After being named Dunstable House and going through a couple of owners and a couple of buildings as it grew, it was purchased by John Ballantyne in 1872. Most of the upper floors were staff work areas, including the dress-making department, and the credit and accounting department. The women who had stayed in the office died in the fire. They didn't bring a ladder. Please ensure that you have JavaScript enabled in your browser. Twinkl » New Zealand » Years 4 - 6 » Topics/Themes » Festivals, Celebrations and Events It … Ballantyne's fire. The pergola that is part of the memorial collapsed in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake but was later rebuilt. Around the outside of the building was a veranda which made it difficult for the fire fighters to put up their ladders. Along with some of the women from the credit department and in spite of the growing signs of disaster he had kept the staff working until about 3:55 pm. Civic funeral for 41 Ballantyne's fire victims. The fire-damaged buildings were demolished and the main Ballantynes store was rebuilt on the corner of Colombo Street and Cashel Street. The staff in the dress-making section on the second floor escaped after taking the stairs and leaving the building just as the upper parts of the store began to collapse. It started in the basement of the furniture department, which was located at southern end of the Colombo Street frontage of the complex. Today marks the 73rd anniversary of the Ballantynes fire. At 3:47 pm fire engines arrived. The bodies of the 41 victims were buried at Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Bromley, after a civic funeral. They didn't bring a ladder. The sequence of delays, errors, and fatal mistakes made by management during the next 25 minutes have been portrayed most memorably in the novel Gardens of Fire by historian and novelist Stevan Eldred-Grigg, who based the book on detailed research and interviews with survivors. The effects on the community General Only the supervisor and one of the department staff made it safely to the fire escape and down. All four people who lived in the home had safely evacuated before firefighters arrived. At 3:31pm on 18 November, 1947, one of the salesmen employed in the store was told by a woman employee that smoke was coming up the stairs. [6], Fire protection was provided by manual fire extinguishers, although staff were not formally trained in their use. BiblioWeb: app03 Version 3.26.0 Last updated 2021/01/20 06:52, After the Paint n’ Pen art exhibition, local…, #PopUpPenguins are in Christchurch! [7] The company claimed after the fire that around 250 to 300 customers were inside the building when smoke was first seen coming from a cellar, many of whom were not inside the showrooms but inside the elaborate neoclassical tearooms on an upper floor, having afternoon tea while listening to a string trio. [2] The commission noted that the 30 minutes between the first call to the fire brigade and point of flashover would have been enough time to evacuate everyone in the building without injury. She said each year a wreath is laid at the Ballantyne's fire memorial in the Ruru Lawn Cemetery in Bromley. WorldCat Home About WorldCat Help. When the fire began in a basement about 3.30 p.m., 250–300 people were shopping at Ballantyne’s, which had a staff of 458. 41 people lost their lives, 39 staff and 2 of the company's auditors from the partnership of Stewart Beckett. There were no emergency alarms to alert staff, and no way of automatically contacting the fire brigade. Photograph taken on 26 November 1947, by an unidentified photographer for the Free Lance. Find items in libraries near you. Some parts of the building had no access to fire escapes. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. About 250 customers and the retail staff on the ground floor were moved outside, but there was no move to clear the upper floors of the staff who had just returned to work after their tea break. The business was owned and managed by two brothers and who were of the Ballantyne family. Staff were eagerly awaiting a visit from … In 1947 more than 300 people were employed in the department store of J. Ballantyne & Co, situated on the corner of Colombo Street and Cashel Street in the centre of Christchurch. Although an electrical fault or a discarded cigarette butt were both suggested as possibilities, the former could not be excluded by the commission of enquiry. Ballantynes Fire, Christchurch 1947 Ballantynes began trading in Christchurch in 1872, and has remained on site on Cashel Street since this date as a shopping destination in the city. Over time superheated gas and fire began working into the floors above. He told the woman to call the fire brigade and tell the owners. Upstairs the owners, Kenneth and Roger Ballantyne, had been told about the fire, but there was some uncertainty whether the call to the fire brigade had been made. The fire in Christchurch’s prestigious department store was the deadliest in New Zealand’s history. In this entry we will show you how to find information about the start of the fire, how it spread throughout the store, who … The cause of the fire was never established. Photo / Christchurch Star Archive. Although an electrical fault or a discarded cigarette butt were both suggested as possibilities, the former could not be excluded by the commission of enquiry. In 1947 Ballantynes had 458 staff, and its premises were made up of eight buildings, joined by openings to make one establishment. It is on a fire disaster that happened in 1947. Other. The fire is thought to have started in one of the basements of the Congreves building. A DigitalNZ Story by Donna Robertson. Two credit department employees jumped together from a top floor window of Pratt's Building on the corner of Colombo and Cashel Streets. The group moved to another area but were driven back by the smoke. Longtime Christchurch resident Don Clark was nearby on the day and said everyone was connected to someone affected. At first the firemen thought it was just a cellar fire. Most of the upper floors were staff work areas, including the dress-making department, and the credit and accounting department. A DigitalNZ Story by Donna Robertson. Image collection: Ballantynes’ Fire. They landed, injured but alive, on a slate verandah and were rescued by members of the public using a ladder and taken to hospital. The decision was made not to bring a turntable ladder to the scene of the fire as a cellar fire was not usually regarded as serious. Search for Library Items Search for Lists Search for Contacts Search for a Library. CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND. 41 people had died in the blaze. 41 people lost their lives, 39 staff and 2 of the company's auditors from the partnership of Stewart Beckett. Ballantynes Fire Luke Sherry St Andrews College Overview Info On the 18th of November 1947 Ballantynes Department store in Christchurch erupted in flames. Twinkl » New Zealand » Years 4 - 6 » Topics/Themes » Festivals, Celebrations and Events Search. A civic funeral service was held in the Anglican Cathedral on 23 November, followed by a mass burial. See more ideas about Fire, Christchurch, Christchurch new zealand. 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