Wood plant fire guts hopper

A Hull Road timber processing plant's sawdust hopper and kiln was gutted by fire early today.

Security guards at the Tim Fin Pacific Ltd plant called the fire service at 3am with crews from Tauranga and Mount Maunganui stations arriving to find the building well alight.

This hopper was destroyed in a fire in the early hours of this morning.

The crews remained at the timber processing plant until shortly before 6am.

“By the size of the fire when we got there, it had obviously been burning for awhile before the alarm was even raised,” says Tauranga senior station officer Len Sabin.

“We have been to the site a number of times over the years with different issues with that furnace and unfortunately this time it's done a good job of it and completely destroyed that building.”

The building, estimated to be 10mx10m, is at the rear of the Hull Road site and is isolated from the rest of the plant.

It is where the dust and shavings from the timber finishing plant are collected before use as fuel for the plant's kiln.

“It was a case of making sure there was no fire travelling through the overhead ducting systems,” says Len.

“We made sure it was cut off from other areas, got the power cut off and extinguished it.

“It was well gutted by the time we got there.

“It was just a case of making sure there were no options for it to spread and that it was well contained.”

The owner told Mount Maunganui senior station officer Roger Pickett that they will be redesigning the whole plant.

“There's been two or three good fires there over the last five years or so,” says Roger.

The Mount Maunganui volunteer brigade was called to assist the professional fire fighters on this emergency.

“The Mount ‘vollies' get called out of bed for any property fire like that,” says Roger, who notes it is good experience for them.

“They're a few young guys and because they turn up time and time again and don't do anything, it's quite good for them to actually have something to do.”


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Lest we forget, Mt Maunganui. Photo: Cherry Fowles.

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