Fire starts under kiln room

Ranfurly firefighters arrange gear outside the Maniototo Arts Centre after battling a fire. Photo by Jono Edwards.
Ranfurly firefighters arrange gear outside the Maniototo Arts Centre after battling a fire. Photo by Jono Edwards.
The cause of a fire at the Maniototo Arts Centre in Ranfurly is yet to be determined.

About 9.45am yesterday, two of the town's appliances were called to a blaze at the rear of the community building. An Omakau appliance was called but sent back.

Ranfurly Fire Brigade Senior Station Officer Greg Baddock said the fire was ''well involved'' by the time they arrived. About 18 firefighters fought it for about 30 minutes, he said.

''The damage is fairly minimal. It is mostly contained to one room.''

The fire mainly damaged the floor of the kiln room, as it came from underneath the building, he said.

Other rooms suffered slight smoke damage.

A Fire Service spokeswoman said a crew from the Ranfurly Fire Brigade was called back to the centre just after 7pm last night.

Embers had ''reignited a fire'', which was ''tracking up'' a wall cavity in the centre when the crew arrived.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus removed wall cladding to access the fire and extinguished it with two high pressure hoses in about 30 minutes.

The centre is owned by the Central Otago District Council, which has transferred community groups booked to use it this week to other facilities.

A pottery group that was at the centre in the morning left, then returned to find a fire.

No-one was inside the building at the time, Mr Baddock said.

The cause was undetermined, but it could be underfloor wiring, he said.

A fire investigator would inspect the building tomorrow or Saturday, to determine the cause, he said.

Until then, the council has restricted access to the back room of the building.

jono.edwards@odt.co.nz

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