Fire in the historic St. Stephen Presbyterian Church in Jervois Road, Ponsonby, Oakland Church

New Zealand

Firefighters battle a fire at the historic St. Stephen’s Church in Ponsonby. Video / Will Trafford

Emergency services are rushed to Jervois Road after a major fire broke out at the historic St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church on busy Oakland Street.

Several fire trucks at the scene. Several police cars also cordoned off an area near the building.

Smoke from the fire can be seen from as far away as Auckland’s North Shore.

Firefighters at the scene.  Photo / Will Trafford
Firefighters at the scene. Photo / Will Trafford

Police said they were called in for fire and emergency assistance in the fire that occurred in St. Stephens at 3:30 pm.

As of 5:45 p.m., 18 firefighting vehicles attended to put out the flames that were still burning, but they were.
Contained now.

A police spokesman said they were helping to monitor the traffic.

The NZTA has tweeted that the ramp from Shelly Beach Road is closed due to smoke from the fire.

Saint Stephens, Reverend Grant Redott, was standing outside Saint Stephens, watching his church burn, and saying “it was better” when asked how he was adjusting.

“I actually don’t know much and I don’t think they know much yet. Just trying to contain it and keep it confidential as much as possible but there isn’t much information at this point about how it started,” he said.

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“The building was empty. I’m standing in front and there’s a lot of smoke and that’s pretty much all I know at this point.

Firefighters try to put out the flames in the historic church.  Photo / Will Trafford
Firefighters try to put out the flames in the historic church. Photo / Will Trafford

“I don’t know what it looks like from the inside or where things are. We are just watching from a distance.

“over there [in the roof of the church] They are pretty much just wooden beams. The entire building is made of wood so there’s not much on top it’s just a recessed space. “

Reddot said there was no construction or any kind of work being done on the roof.

Matt Manioni of Jervois Steak House across the road from St Stephen’s said at 4 p.m. that it looks like the fire has been brought under control.

Manioni said Jervois Road had been closed and traffic was heavy.

“The traffic is very crowded and the road is completely closed on both sides,” Manioni said.

“It’s definitely something on the roof,” Manioni said of the site of the fire. “That’s all I can see from here.”

The church says on its website: “We believe that the church is about imperfect people who come together to love God and each other. We aim to encourage, equip and motivate each other in our love for Jesus Christ and his love for the world.

“We don’t think the church should be about keeping Christians busy doing things inside. We prefer people development rather than programs. We prefer to live the good news outside our walls.”

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“Come check us out, we’d love to meet you.”

Fire devices at the scene.  Photo / Hayden Woodward
Fire devices at the scene. Photo / Hayden Woodward

It also states that ‘St Stephens Presbyterian Church in Ponsonby has stood for over 134 years and has been registered as Historic Place Category 2, with New Zealand heritage.

The original church opened in 1879 and was designed in a Gothic Revival style by the well-known and well-known architect Edward Mahoney.

“Later in 1907, a major extension was added in an Edwardian style influenced by the emerging Baroque style and designed by the architect Robert Martin Watt.”

“In 1994, the architect William Elge submitted plans for modifications and additions to the second hall, which included a corridor and balcony connecting the building to the church. A balcony was also added on the east side and a parking area next to it, where there is a small hut that had previously stood before it was demolished.”

“Mansi was also part of the original church complex, and after it was designed and built in 1908, the building was finally sold in 1997.”

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