Disaster averted as truck goes up

Steve Couper
Steve Couper
Oamaru firefighters believe they may have saved several vehicles and equipment worth ''hundreds of thousands of dollars'', after they turned out to a fire at a heavy goods yard workshop yesterday to find ''black, black smoke'' billowing from ''everywhere''.

Both of the Oamaru Volunteer Fire Brigade's fire engines attended the fire at the Waitaki Heavy Vehicle Maintenance (WHVM) workshop on State Highway 1 north of Oamaru at 1.20am, and although Chief Fire Officer Steve Couper said other units from Weston were also called out, they were not needed.

''It turned out to be a truck [on fire]. A reasonably large truck was well involved once we got inside. Smoke was pouring out of the eaves, so it was very hard to say first off what exactly we had burning and how much of it was burning.''

Fortunately, the fire was contained to just one commercial break-down truck, he said.

''It was a good save, really. It could have been far, far worse, considering the other end of the workshop there's probably five or six other vehicles, buses and big commercial vehicles. So we are very lucky, really.''

Mr Couper said an electrical fault was believed to have caused the fire. Firefighters spent about two hours dampening down the truck.

WHVM owner Trevor Johnston said the workshop contained equipment and vehicles worth ''hundreds of thousands of dollars''.

''We got off very lightly; it could have been an absolute disaster.''

Mr Johnston said the company would be able to continue.

-andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz

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