Newtown Fire Response
Salvation Army Emergency Services deployed quickly to support people displaced by a fatal fire at a Wellington hostel on 16 May.
At least six people reportedly died in the severe blaze at Loafers Lodge, in the Wellington suburb of Newtown, which provided temporary and longer-term accommodation to more than 90 people.
About 55 of the displaced residents went to an Emergency Assistance Centre at Newtown Park stadium where they received support from a range of government and community organisations.
An on-site Salvation Army team provided a range of support including psycho-social assistance and sausages from a mobile BBQ, while staff at The Salvation Army’s Newtown Centre offered additional help and support to the local community.
Other organisations on site included Wellington City Mission, Wellington Ambulance, Ministry of Society Development, New Zealand Police, Corrections and the Wellington City Council.
Other help provided to displaced residents included identifying temporary accommodation, arranging for replacement medicines and the provision of mobile phones and care packs from The Warehouse.
‘It was amazing how all the agencies worked together,’ says Captain Shaun Baker, The Salvation Army’s Emergency Services coordinator covering the Wellington region.
‘The Salvation Army response team consisted of six people who were chaplains or had received emergency services training or both.
‘It was a privilege to be in that space and support people in that situation.’
Team members were debriefed following their emergency work. ‘This is an important part of the process, allowing emergency responders to mentally process the things they have experienced when helping others who have gone through a distressing situation.’