Firefighters twice back to fire at warehouse

Bluff volunteer firefighters were twice back in action dampening down hotspots on Saturday morning after a blaze earlier tore through a large warehouse in the port area.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) Invercargill station officer Jodi McHugh said Bluff volunteer firefighters had twice attended the building on Saturday, at 7.45am and about 11.30am, to deal with "minor hot spots", in the warehouse where palm kernel had been stored.

Fenz earlier said the fire was not viewed as suspicious, but Ms McHugh added that fire safety staff had been checking the complex routinely on Saturday.

She understood a loader had earlier been "on fire within the building" and that some wall-linings at the complex had been damaged.

She believed the building had survived structurally, but that would be a matter for engineers to investigate and determine, she said.

Fenz was alerted to the blaze at South Port Bluff about 11.30pm on Friday.

Fenz shift manager Andrew Norris said the warehouse, which was about 7000sqm, was engulfed in fire upon the arrival of firefighters.

"At the peak of the fire we had six fire engines and around 30 firefighters battling the blaze," he said.

The firefighters had the blaze under control by dawn.

There were no injuries reported as a result of the fire.The warehouse contained palm kernel — a type of stock Norris said could heat up when stored in large quantities.

The fire was not being treated as suspicious, he said.

A Fenz spokesman said the fire was "going very well when we first arrived".

Firefighters at the scene advised at 1.47am on Saturday that the fire was under control, but some firefighting continued beyond this, he said. South Port general manager Geoff Finnerty said the fire took place in a warehouse leased by a third party.

The port was working with authorities and an investigation into the blaze was under way, he said.

- Staff Reporters & NZ Herald

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