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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Volunteer wants to meet others

Volunteer wants to meet others

Last updated 05:00 20/04/2011
A man whose boots melted as he fought the Canterbury Television (CTV) fire after the February earthquake says he wants to meet fellow rescuers again so he can buy them a beer.

Keith Taylor, 34, said he was manning his parents' icecream cart on the morning of the quake and had returned to their factory in central Christchurch when it hit.

He volunteered with about 30 others to help rescue people in the CTV building.

"One of the police officers said `Who wants to help?' and I put up my hand," he said.

Construction workers from nearby buildings put their excavators to work in the rubble.

"We just started hitting the rubble and I grabbed a fire hose and jumped up on the rubble pile with some other dude," Taylor said.

"I was standing on a tin section of roof and it melted the soles of the boots I was wearing. I was constantly being engulfed in thick white smoke."

As Taylor helped fight the fire, another man pointed out hot spots and watched the intact part of the building to warn him if it began to fall.

Taylor said he thought the man was wearing a hard hat and could have been a construction worker, but otherwise had no idea who he was.

"There's not much chance to say `Hi, I'm Keith, pleased to meet you'. I would like to find that guy again and buy him a beer," he said.

He also wanted to thank police who took charge and helped co-ordinate the rescue effort.

Taylor helped rescue about five people from a hole in the rubble. He believed they were students at the King's Education language school.

Taylor left the scene about 7pm to check on his parents.

"I have guilt about not staying," he said.

With the central city off limits and winter approaching, work for his parents had dried up and he needed a job.

"I'd do anything. It seems crazy you can stand on rubble and fight a fire but you can't find work," he said.

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