1 Oct 2010

Inquiry into fire at Weta Workshop building

10:23 pm on 1 October 2010

An investigation is under way into a fire at a building used by Sir Peter Jackson's Weta Workshop.

The building in the Wellington suburb of Kilbirnie was used to film scenes for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong.

The Rongotai Road property is owned by Portsmouth Miniatures Studio and was used by Weta Workshop to film the miniatures scenes for the movies.

Two people were working in the building and two contractors were on the roof when the fire broke out about 3pm on Friday. They escaped unharmed.

Fire crews were at the scene of the blaze before the emergency call came in, as officers training nearby saw smoke billowing out of the building.

The plastic skylights in the building's roof melted, allowing gases and smoke to escape. Fourteen fire appliances and about 50 fire officers attended, as well as police and ambulance services.

There has been moderate damage to the building and some of its contents.

At the height of the fire, a thick black column of smoke could be seen from around Wellington and the Hutt Valley.

Sir Peter Jackson's company released a statement on Friday, saying it awaited the outcome of the investigation.