'Tamahere' is a word that everyone in Hamilton knows and makes everyone stop and take a breath.
Tamahere is in fact a small suburb/township about 1-2ks south of Hamilton.
Unfortunately it was, until recently, the home of a Cool Storage Place housing cheese, butter etc.
6 weeks ago the local firebrigade answered a routine alarm call at the Cool Store and what happened next brought Hamilton together as a community.
When the 8 crew got there they started to investigate and 5 minutes after they arrived the storage place exploded. 7 of the crew were burnt and injured and sadly 1 of the crew died.
There was a school fete / gala day happening across the road from the explosion, it shook the school and caused a large crowd of the parents to run over the road to help where needed.
The crew were very lucky in that the area is well known as a place for Doctors and Nurses to live, so many of the parents racing to assist were medically trained.
When total choas had carmed to the best that it could, it took fire crews 2 days to put out the blaze.
Crews from as far away as Auckland (1 1/2 hrs away) and Rotorua (1hr away) came to assist with the fire.
Due to a lack of water in the area, water was being tanked in from as far away as 30 miles to assist the fire crew.
6 of the crew are now home recovering, 1 has returned to work. 1 is still under sedation in the burns unit and has a very long road ahead.
The other crew member Derek Lovell, was farewelled by his mates, family, colleagues and all of Hamilton about a week after the event.
The streets of Hamilton were lined with people paying their respects from the CBD to the race course, about 5-10ks.
Tamahere is something that no one in Hamilton will forget in a hurry.
We moved house on that day, April 5, and saw the large cloud of black smoke from the garden. My brother drove home past the blaze and said it was a sight he won't forget.
The smoke stayed in the sky for at least 2 days.
So why am I writing about this now?
My 2 are so into firefighters. They slide down poles, convinced that all stations have poles in them like Fireman Sam does.
They are always putting hard hats on their heads pretending to be firefighters.
It is their game to play at present when ever they are outside.
I know this is just play for little boys, but this is where passion for something starts, if one of them ever grew up to be a fire fighter then I would be so proud of them, I would worry a lot and just hope and pray that they have people like those at Tamahere looking out for them.
God bless them all