Dry weather may have played a part in the crumbling of a wall, which killed a 15 month-old girl in the Waitakere City suburb of Massey yesterday.
Toddler Deeana Robertson had been playing near the wall when it collapsed, crushing her to death.
Waitakere City Council sent a civil engineer to investigate. Spokesman Glyn Walters says it is early days, but it was an old wall and the recent hot weather may have caused the mortar holding it together to dry out.
The Labour Department was also called in to investigate but has now pulled back, having confirmed the accident was not at a place of work.
Massey Councillor Linda Cooper is in disbelief. She says the loss of any child is an absolute tragedy, and her heart goes out to Deeana’s parents. Ms Cooper says the community and the Waitakere City Council will be doing all they can to help the family. She says it brings back memories of Aisling Symes, who drowned last year after falling down a drain. Ms Cooper says the whole community feels the loss of a child, and she knows people will rally around the Robertson family.
Deeana Robertson’s death has been referred to the Coroner.
A building expert says the collapse of a brick wall can be seen only as a terribly unlucky tragedy. Canterbury bricklayer Ron Bush says by all accounts, the collapse sounds pretty freakish. But he says in some cases, it does pay to keep a check on brick structures.
Mr Bush says people should look at the mortar between the bricks to check it has not dried out. If it has, the structure will need repointing. Mr Bush says in most cases, it will take 50 or 60 years for the mortar to become brittle enough for a structure to collapse.