An explosive fire destroyed two Ashburton business last night, one belonging to a former Christchurch business-owner and quake refugee.
Crews were called to an industrial site on Range St about 6pm to find Lignotech and its neighbour Advanced Upholstery ablaze and flames threatening New Zealand Couriers.
Ashburton chief fire officer Alan Burgess said there was still a lot of work to be done on the site.
The structures were so badly damaged it would be hard work to work out the cause of the fire, he said. "They are completely destroyed.''
New Zealand Couriers has some water damage, however, was able to rescue ''well in excess of 90 per cent'' of stock, Burgess said.
Advanced Upholstery is owned by former Cantabrians Sue and Brian Stockdale, who used to run an upholstery business on Cashel St.
The three business were housed in one large structure that spans between Robinson and Range streets.
Burgess said it appeared the fire began in the most southerly business and spread from one to the next.
It took six fire engines manned by crews from Ashburton, Rakia and Methven until about 11pm to bring the blaze under control.
An Ashburton fire watch house spokesperson said one of the businesses had gas cylinders it used for welding inside the building at the time and they caused explosions at the scene.
- The Dominion Post