Explosion at Manurewa train station
MICHAEL FIELD, TREVOR QUINN AND JAY BOREHAM
At least four large explosions, including one close to two firefighters, rocked an industrial area of South Auckland this morning, closing the train line and causing widespread panic.
"We were quite lucky to be honest because I was bending down inspecting the hole (caused by an initial explosion) and as you can imagine we got out of there pretty quickly," Manurewa firefighter Karne Gough said.
Gough was inspecting the Weymouth Rd rail overbridge along with Manurewa station officer Jeremy Hull when the blast came from under the footpath of the bridge.
Hull said there were "multiple explosions" after firefighters arrived at the scene.
Flames were first seen coming from the road way on the Weymouth Rd rail overbridge about 7.45am, eyewitness Chris Allatt said.
"I saw them and then soon after there were four explosions... a couple of them were quite impressive and loud."
He said one of the fireballs seemed to come close to two firemen on the bridge.
The fire service earlier said they had received multiple 111 calls "about a fire on the overbridge, the footpath on fire, a fireball" spokesman Jaron Phillps said.
The incident was initially thought to be gas explosions but Phillps said firefighters believed it was overhead wires catching alight.
No-one had been injured.
Phillips said the Southmall carpark was evacuated and Weymouth Rd and Great South Rd awere closed.
Trains were suspended between Papakura and Puhinui until about 9.20am. One lane of the bridge remained closed to traffic until about 10.20am.
A Vector spokeswoman said the incident was caused by a fault in an 11,000 volt cable on the overbridge.
By 9.20am the feeder outage had been restored and repairs were being carried out.
Allatt's business, Manurewa Automotive, is close to the bridge.
He said there were four or five fire engines, a hazardous materials unit and several police cars.
Mandeep Singh, manager of McDonald's in Manurewa, said the explosion sounded like a succession of bangs.
"There was a big blast and then we heard blasts four or five times after that," he said.
"The power went off after the first blast and then continued to flicker in and out. There may have been gaps of between 10 and 15 minutes between the various blasts we heard."
Police have refused to comment.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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