Act of God damages Napier Vinnies shop


A severe hail storm in Hawkes Bay seriously damaged a St Vincent de Paul Opportunity Shop in Napier on Tuesday.

Shop manager Richard Kelly-Lowe said water came flooding in “like a river” and caused the suspended ceiling to collapse under the pressure.

Kelly-Lowe was at the front window with staff and shoppers fascinated as they watched Carlyle St become a snowscape.

Then he heard a loud crashing sound and knew something not so fascinating had happened.

“Part of the suspended ceiling came down,” he said on Wednesday morning as a clean-up and power-up task got underway.

The hail fell in such volume that it blocked the guttering as well as downpipes and water started flowing down and into the walls.

The water burst through ceiling panels and flowed down the inside walls “like a river.

While the main shop area was undamaged, the water created pools in the accompanying office and a boardroom.

“There was nothing we could do,” Kelly-Lowe said.

So he closed and evacuated the shop.

“We’d only had the guttering cleaned out last week.”

While the stock is undamaged, Kelly-Lowe was concerned about damage to stored paperwork in the board room and would be going through it over the next few days.

“I have never seen hail like that before — it was like being in Canada or the USA — you don’t expect to see that here.”

The building’s owner, who also has other nearby properties, said while his other buildings had escaped damage.

He had heard reports of similar guttering-blocked incidents which had caused interior damage.



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