Coffins stretch into the distance at the funeral for victims of the Ballantyne’s department store fire, at Ruru lawn cemetery, Christchurch. Forty-one people, including many young women employees, died in the 1947 fire. The royal commission of inquiry that followed found fault with the way the store management and local brigade responded to the emergency. It recommended changes, including the establishment of a national fire service. Many years passed before this goal was achieved.
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