Early morning excavator fire

Sparks from a cutting torch are thought to be the cause of an early morning Te Puke fire today. Photo: Supplied.

Te Puke volunteer fire fighters called to an excavator fire at a scrap metal merchant’s yard in Te Puke Quarry Road today, found on arrival that the excavator had been burning for some time.

The cause is believed to be sparks from gas cutting equipment that was in use on Wednesday, says Te Puke Volunteer fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Glenn Williams.

“It’s a massive machine, it looked like something that was used in the forestry industry whether for chipping logs or whatever. Something that they are cutting up.

“When we got there is wasn’t as if it was flaming away furiously. There was a lot of smoke and we could see forestry waste at the bottom of the machine, and that was what was smouldering away.

“I think what had happened is the guy doing the cutting yesterday set the stuff on fire.”

A neighbour had seen somebody putting a hose on the fire on Wednesday, but it is believed to have been smouldering through the night.

“It was pretty tricky to get water onto because of the location of the organic material at the bottom of the machine,” says Glenn.

“We had to get a forklift to move some of the steel that had been cut away, because it was blocking access for our hose delivery underneath to where the stuff was burning.”

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