'Like a war zone': Massive blaze at fertiliser facility

Workers have been evacuated and nearby residents told to close windows as firefighters battle a massive blaze at Ravensdown's fertiliser plant in Christchurch.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) said forty firefighters and 10 trucks are battling the blaze on Main South Rd in Christchurch.

Firefighters are trying to extinguish a blaze after a fire broke out at the Ravensdown fertiliser facility in Christchurch today. Photo: Star.kiwi
Firefighters are trying to extinguish a blaze after a fire broke out at the Ravensdown fertiliser facility in Christchurch today. Photo: Star.kiwi

Fenz had no information yet as to whether the smoke billowing from the Hornby plant, which was visible across the whole city, was toxic.

On social media it warned residents to avoid the area.

"Please stay away from this area as smoke is causing issues with traffic. We will update you all again soon," Fenz posted to its Facebook page.

People living and working near the blazing Ravensdown fertiliser plant in Christchurch are being told to close their windows and turn off their air conditioning systems.

A Ravensdown staff member told the Christchurch Star they were evacuated and told to stay away from the area.

He said "it is not the safest to be breathing in" the smoke billowing from the building.

Police said emergency services were called to the scene at about 10.15am.

Flames can be seen leaping within the building and cutting equipment can be heard coming from inside.

The blaze began in Main South Rd. Photo: NZME
The blaze began in Main South Rd. Photo: NZME
Sirens are telling people to evacuate the factory.

Witness Marc Duff said he saw smoke coming from the building at about 10.15am.

The fire was travelling from east to west across the building, he said.

Mr Duff said there were no explosions.

“It’s like a war zone, there are so many sirens.”

Ravensdown posted on Twitter that everyone was accounted for and no injuries had been reported.

Nearby Repco Hornby store assistant Scott McKee said:  "We had to close our doors and windows because of the smoke."

They were on standby to evacuate but it appeared the fire’s strength was weakening, he said.

A Christchurch Transport Operations Centre spokeswoman said people should expect severe delays.

"If you are travelling east or west to or from SH1 please use the Christchurch Southern Motorway as an alternate route.

"If you are travelling from Sockburn Roundabout use Racecourse Rd and Buchanans Rd."

Main South Road is now closed from Carmen Rd to Springs Rd.

"The public are urged to avoid the area," police said.

WIth NZME and ODT

 

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