Burnley man caught up in New Zealand earthqake horror

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A FORMER Burnley man who emigrated to New Zealand six years ago with his family has spoken of the petrifying moment an earthquake struck Christchurch earlier this week.

Clarets fan Mr Ken Campbell (52), who lived in Grassington Drive and The Shortlands in Padiham before moving to Christchurch, was working on the first-floor of his office building when the disaster happened on Tuesday.

Mr CampbelI, who used to work as a production manager at the Image Works, based on the Lomeshaye Industrial Estate, said: “I have never felt anything like the sensation of having to hold onto the door frame just to remain standing.

“I could see out and down onto the car park to witness the parked cars jumping up with their wheels off the ground, and down left and right.

“I picked my branch manager off the floor from under her upturned desk and we went down the stairs to find everyone outside in the car park.

“Most of the machinery had fallen over, alarm bells were ringing from every building and car, people were walking around in a daze firstly from the quake then the sounds. By this time all communication was down and being with family became a priority.”

Mr Campbell said power supplies and traffic lights failed and drivers were forced to weave across the road to avoid the cracks.

His journey home, which normally takes 40 minutes, lasted two-and-a-half hours as roads became gridlocked with people trying to get out of the city.

Mr Campbell’s wife, Janet, who works from home, had to drive into the city to pick up their children Nat (16) and Ander (11) from school amid the chaos.

The family, who live 20 miles outside Christchurch in a town called Rolleston, were also at the centre of 80% of the aftershocks from the last earthquake in September.

Mr Campbell said: “Because we are not at work and the schools shut we are just spending time together as a family. Texting and Facebook is a constant action as we are contacting work colleagues and friends to check on news and give support.

“Burnham Military Camp, three miles up the road, is being used as a temporary morgue and Rolleston Prison, which is a low security jail, has been emptied to accommodate rescue crews and our community is a refuge centre for homeless families.

“Prisoners from our town have been moved to the more secure Christchurch Prison.”

Mr Campbell said families made homeless had been coming to his home to use the shower.

“As a family we get up early to wash and dress to allow two or three families to come from the community centre to shower. That’s what everyone does. Our home has cracks but it is safe and we have power and water.”

Have you been caught up in the earthquake? Let us know ...