NEW ZEALAND: 16 Minutes

Tuesday is a dull shopping day in Christchurch, New Zealand. At 4 p.m. last Tuesday there were hardly more shoppers than clerks in Ballantyne's, biggest department store in South Island. Many of the staff, following Christchurch custom, were at afternoon tea or were just ambling back to their counters. They smelled fire and saw wisps of smoke but, told that firemen were arriving, carried on with their jobs. Then, in a twinkling, the acre-wide building was a pillar of flame. Fire broke from the shallow basement, seared the main floor, exploded upward to the second and third.

Passers-by saw girls screaming...

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