Showroom fire caused by heater
A fire that severely damaged an award-winning carpet and vinyl business in Howick appears to have started with an electric bar heater.
Flames severely damaged the Carpetland store when the blaze began shortly before 7pm last Friday.
Fire risk management officer Phil Faidley said the blaze was not being treated as suspicious.
''Investigations found that the fire had begun in an office area behind the showroom and initial indications are that it could be related to a bar radiator heater that may have been left on when the owner of the business departed.''
Twenty-six firefighters attended the blaze.
Carpetland owner Lawrence Ngan said his staff were a tight unit and have been working hard to clean up since the fire. The company has insurance.
The business would move to a nearby building while the shop and warehouse were fixed. He hoped to be operating in the new premises by next week.
Nick Porter's cleaning products business Enjo New Zealand is above the showroom and suffered some smoke damage and melted wiring. His staff were having a few drinks after work on Friday and discovered the blaze as they were exiting.
''I was the first one out,'' Porter said.
''We heard some sort of alarm and saw it was coming from Carpetland, looked and saw huge amounts of smoke plus flame in the middle of the showroom and rang the fire brigade.''
Porter is full of praise for the fire brigade's quick response.
''I think if it had been another five minutes the fire would have lifted up and caught the timber exterior and the whole building would have gone.
''With the exploding glass and all that, there's no way even in a fire suit I'd go there, so all kudos to them.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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