Cyclone Cook good training for aspiring Tairua fireman

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By Hunter Calder

For 18-year-old Billy Turner, Cyclone Cook looked like it was going to provide the perfect opportunity to put his training as a volunteer fireman to good use.

Mr Turner says yesterday was relatively quiet with only a few minor callouts in the Tairua area, but it was his first severe event that could have eventuated into something much larger.

"It's a pretty big event... so (I'm) really learning what to do and help out where I can," Mr Turner said.

The teenager signed up to Tairua's volunteer brigade four years ago after having heard the sirens go off in the town.

On Thursday Mr Turner says they were door-knocking to check people were okay and prepared if they did have to evacuate.

And part of that included preparing pumps, petrol and other equipment "ready to go".

The army rolled into town around 4pm.

As Cyclone Cook bore down on the region fire chief Chris New was relieved to see the Defence Force arriving - they were there in case extra help was needed overnight.

Chris New says during the day they had checked on residents in town.

"We've suggested to people that they be aware of their surroundings they self-evacuate if they are at all worried."

Mr New also said he felt sorry for some of the business in town who may have lost crucial trade on what would usually be a busy time in the lead up to Easter weekend.

But by early evening it became clear - Coromandel had escaped the wrath of Cyclone Cook.

Now volunteers are hoping holidaymakers will arrive in time to support their fundraising market day at the fire station on Saturday.

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