Haunted mansion

PHOTO: Antonio Hall fire. STUFF

An iconic Christchurch building was destroyed overnight in a blaze so big, surrounding streets were closed and nearby houses evacuated.

Fire and Emergency told Newshub they were alerted to the fire at Antonio Hall, Upper Riccarton, just after 3:30am on Friday.

They sent 11 firetrucks to quell the blaze, which could be seen from around the city.

Antonio Hall was built 115 years ago, and in 1996 was registered as a Category II historic place by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust. It had been empty for several years having been left to fall into ruin, the grounds unkempt and overgrown.

A third of the building was destroyed in a fire in 2019, started by a 14-year-old. It was also damaged in the 2011 earthquake. The latest blaze appears to have largely finished it off.

The remains of Antonio Hall.
The remains of Antonio Hall. Photo credit: Katrina Grant

“We were driving home and I looked up and saw the sky was red,” witness Katrina Grant told Newshub. “Got to Riccarton Rd, pulled up… jumped out and started recording.”

The fire was “well ablaze” at that point, Grant said.

“By the time I got up close and started filming, it was just the framework… It’s gone. The whole building is gone, and lots of trees surrounding.”

She said lots of “squatters” have been staying in the derelict building.

“I’ve never been there myself but I’ve heard lots of stories about it,” she said. “Apparently it was quite haunted.”


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