29 Nov 2016

Fire at Taupō timber plant

8:21 am on 29 November 2016

A large blaze at a timber processing plant in Taupō, in the central North Island, has destroyed crucial machinery.

Firefighters were called to the plant, owned by New Zealand Timber Packaging, in an industrial area of the suburb of Tauhara, about 8.30pm.

Fire Service Northern shift manager Scott Osmond said the fire had spread from silos to the main processing building and timber stacked throughout the yard.

He said it had spread through 900sqm of timber and destroyed a silo filled with sawdust.

"There's a fire there that started off in some silos containing a lot of sawdust. It's spread throughout the whole building at this stage."

Mr Osmond said although bushes at the neighbouring BMX track had also caught fire, there was no immediate risk to nearby residents.

The company's managing director, Keith Jarman, said the processing equipment has been destroyed.

"It has moved into the main processing building, which when you add in the processing equipment, the sawdust extraction, the electrical system, and the wood that we put through the factory, it doesn't leave us with much does it.

"It's unfortunate - we've got 30 staff who will turn up to work tomorrow but we won't have anything for them to do."

Mr Jarman said the fire would shut down the whole factory ahead of its busiest time of year.

Mr Osmond said last night there were eight crews on site, including from Taupō, Rotorua and Kinloch, and support staff including police.

Fourteen fire crews were intially at the scene and Taupo Fire Station manager John Gradwell said it took two hours to bring the blaze under control.