Cause of fire “difficult to determine”

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The fire that destroyed a Riwaka cafe early on Wednesday morning was so intense that it will be difficult for fire investigators to determine the cause with the “whole building on the ground”.

The fire was reported at Ginger Dynamite Go Go Food and Cafe in Riwaka, just north of Motueka, about 4.50am on Wednesday. Volunteer fire fighters from Motueka, Mapua, Ngatimoti and Kaiteriteri brigades and eight crews from Nelson started arriving from about 5am but were too late the save the building.

“It’s an old wooden building with very dry native timers so the flames would have spread quickly,” Nelson station officer Craig Davies said at the scene this morning. “And when they burn for that long it’s very difficult to determine the cause.

“We have professional fire investigators here this morning but the whole building is on the ground – they are going to have a very difficult job finding out what started this fire. We’ve also spoken to a few witnesses and they couldn’t shed any light on the cause either.”

However, Craig did say that, at this stage, there is “nothing to make us think the fire is suspicious”.

Craig says six fire fighters from Nelson were this morning “sifting through a big pile of rubbish and turning things over and dampening down hot spots”. They had relieved the volunteer fire fighters who were heading to work after an early start to their day.

The cafe was owned by Brad and Amy Dalton, who live close to the business. Brad said in a post on Facebook that the fire crews did “a great job containing the fire” and protecting neighbouring buildings.

Ginger Dynamite Cafe also employs two other staff.