The Earthquake

Feb EQ 2011

The day started just like any other, we walked into the office looked at the piles of paperwork and shuddered. Quickly walking past we opened up the main doors moved all the vehicles out of the workshop, put out the signs and started work.

Just before 12:15 we got a long wheelbase, lifted, heavily loaded and fully bared up Nissan Safari on the hoist for a service, so off under the Nissan we were undoing the oil bung when we heard a loud rumbling... Lunch time I thought then a massive earthquake ensued, we took shelter under the Nissan on the hoist for 0.002 seconds then ran for the open door with spanners, bolts, parts and oil from the just undone sump bung going everywhere, the intense shaking lasted for about 15-20 seconds and the nissan stayed put!

Out in the carpark we met all the neighboring businesses and saw the dust cloud from behind the building, when we got to the road we could see the damage and I thought "I wonder if the food shop will be open still I am hungry". Power went out immediately and a steady stream of people started walking out of the city, Montreal Street one way system was busy with cars going the wrong way but no one was going in. I went back inside to change my undies and rescue my lunch (and to lower the safari to the ground to prevent further earthquakes) seconds later another large shake.

So the neighbors all decided to get out and after using my Jeep to recover some vehicles (from Liquifaction in the car park) we proved yet again why seriously modified vehicles are better than those pretty, comfortable, economical and easy to park things called cars *shudder* so they were all away we decided to have one last look around.

Our building shares the rear wall with another building it was interesting to see through the gaps into their warehouse, their second floor was on our roof and our roof support beams were split there were also a couple of "little holes" in the roof. We locked all the vehicles in the car park helped manage traffic for a while then locked the building taking the 4wd's home. I forgot to rescue my lunch, the bourbons and beer in the fridge (I think USAR got those) and was locked out of the red zone (CBD where the workshop was) for a couple of months.

Having survived the earthquake with some damage to our customers vehicles, parts and our equipment (the roof fell in) we have had to deal with Insurance. Our customers with well setup vehicles took water, fuel, doctors, nurses (there were some fights over these nurse run's) and food around the place as we all proved yet again why we need to modify our vehicles.

Well now having recovered all we could (thanks to a customers shipping container) and having moved to a temporary location nicknamed "the shed" for the winter (the freezer would have been more accurate with two snow falls) well we were continuing to operate and do enough to get some money going through the books to survive, re-packing the shipping container twice (once with swearing once using the electric winch) to find all the stuff we needed and building shelves into it we finally found our new home, we collected all out tyre machines and gear and equipment spread across 20 sites within 40KM of chch.

So after 8 months and in a new site I gently lifted another Nissan Safari in the air and guess what? No Earthquake but I did need another set of undies as I was nervous!

Rick and the team at 4wd Accessories


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