Large fire ravages building


Over forty fire fighters descended on Motueka’s Old Wharf Road last night.

At 9.18pm the Motueka Volunteer Fire Brigade was called out to a large commercial building fire at Abel Glass Motueka.

Chief Fire Officer Mike Riddell says the fire consumed the building, leaving it “a total write off”.

Fire fighters from Motueka, Kaiteriteri, Mapua, Upper Moutere, Richmond and the Command Unit from Nelson responded to the blaze which was controlled within 40 minutes.

Mike says his unit were first on the scene and were on site not long after the call out.

“Because we were at practice at the station, all our guys were already there so we were pretty quick on the scene and were greeted with a 20×11 building that was totally involved in fire,” says Mike. “We set about surrounding the fire, prevented the minimal exposure risks and proceeded to put it out.”

Mike says controlling the blaze was made more hazardous due to the building’s proximity to the power lines that provide electricity to a large part of the town.

“We did have some issues because it was right beside the 11 KVA power lines so we just had to make sure we were staying away from those with our water. It was too much to shut them off because it would have shut half the town off.”

While people reported hearing explosions, Mike believes they were only caused by aerosol cans and says the fire was relatively easy to tackle despite the centre of the building collapsing.

“Unfortunately the building is a total loss, they’ll have to completely clear the lot after the investigation is complete.”

A fire investigator is en route to the scene and should provide some answers within the day but at this stage Mike says the fire is not being treated as suspicious.