Fire tears through Auckland film studio

Production will not be interrupted at an Auckland Council-owned film studio after a large fire broke out there last night, the council says.

Some 60 firefighters fought the blaze at Auckland Film Studios in Henderson which broke out just after midnight and took hours to get under control.

Auckland Council this morning said Studio 3, one of five film studios on the site, was extensively damaged in the blaze.

The studio was not being used for filming and was insured, the council said.

George Schneider, owner of neighbouring European car restoration business Europro, said he had been staying late at work when the fire broke out.

"I was just about to go home when I was alerted to the fire engines, I thought 'holy hell, what's going on here'."

Mr Schneider said he initially dismissed the sound of the sirens as there is a fire station nearby, "but it wouldn't stop, so I went outside".

He then saw the extent of the out of control fire with leaping flames and "huge columns of smoke".

"What set it off, I don't know."

He said he was concerned about the classic late 1950s Porsche 356s he had been restoring.

"I've got $200,000 worth of cars here - just those three cars alone.

"I was making sure that this wouldn't escalate. I could have got them out - at least all three of them roll. Luckily the wind was a bit sou'west so it wouldn't really [spread towards my workshop]."

Mr Schneider said he stayed at the site until the fire began to die down around 1.30am.

"It took them a while."

The sequel to martial-arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is being filmed at Auckland Film Studios.

The studio is one of the largest in the country and has hosted productions including Mr Pip, The Chronicles of Narnia, Whale Rider and the Xena series.

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