Black smoke billowed across the sky in Ashburton early
Saturday evening as the dreams of two Ashburton businesses
were destroyed in a ferocious blaze.
The Ashburton Fire Brigade was alerted to a fire in a
building owned by Woodhams in the Ashburton Industrial estate
just after 6pm and arrived to find the fire fully engaged.
Two large explosions, believed to be from LPG canisters, were
heard as the fire raced through the Lignotech business and
its neighbour Advanced Upholstery.
Smoke also billowed into the next business in the chain, New
For Sue and Brian Stockdale, the fire was their second
devastating loss in two years. The couple were forced to
leave Christchurch after the February 22, 2011 earthquake
destroyed their property.
They had started over in Ashburton and were gutted to find
that for a second time their dreams had been shattered.
"We've lost everything. Thank goodness most of our stuff for
clients had gone out yesterday and we'd taken our caravan
home. There was just our work truck all our fabric and our
camping gear on the floor. I guess we won't be going
camping," Mrs Stockdale said.
As the shock of the fire began to ease, Mrs Stockdale said
she was confident they could start their business again.
"We've been through this before and we know we can do it
For the Lignotech Developments team, the fire was
devastating. They had an order for material destined for the
United States that was destroyed in the blaze, along with
irreplaceable research material.
LignoTech Developments is a company that uses proprietary
steam explosion for biomass processing.
A member of the team, Gary Haskett said he was devastated by
"It's not easy to replace this stuff . It's unique, quite
specialised what we do."
The company has a biomass lab on the first level of its
building and flames were raging in this area. Within that
area, biomass was drying in sealed ovens.
"I just can't understand what would have caused this," Mr
The Methven and Rakaia fire brigades were called in to assist
- Sue Newman of the Ashburton Guardian