Hutt fire caused by meat smoker

JARED NICOLL
Last updated 17:44 31/03/2014

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A central city fire turned out to be hogwash for fire fighters in Lower Hutt.

Hutt City Fire Brigade officers were called to douse a burning barbecue outside the Prodigal Daughter on Waterloo Rd after some pig cheeks caught fire in a drum smoker at about 2pm today.

Fire appliances caused minor traffic disruptions on Waterloo Rd, near the busy Westfield shopping mall, while the fire was brought under control.

Store owner Rachel Priestley emptied one fire extinguisher on the burning cuts of meat, phoned the fire brigade, then emptied a second.

''The moral of the story is don't hot-smoke on a windy day,'' Priestley said.

The smoker was outside the back door of her artisan store, which is behind the Commonsense Organics shopfront.

She had used it ''hundreds of times''.

''It was a little bit windy so maybe a gust caught the flame and sent it the wrong way.''

The pork came from free-range Longbush pigs in the Wairarapa, which she cured in herbs and spices for three weeks before smoking.

The meat is put on a grill over a metal dish full of woodchips and slowly heated by a gas burner over half a day in a converted 44-gallon drum.

The temperature is raised to 68 degrees at the end for the meat to cook.

She was planning to present her Little Red Riding Hood Cured Meat to chefs during an upcoming trip to Auckland but would have have to find something else, she said.

Hutt City Fire Brigade senior station officer Rob Sullivan said officers on the scene quickly realised it was a barbecue on fire, doused it with water, and sent the extra fire appliances back to the station.

The brigade classed it as a structure fire because the smoker's close proximity to the shop raised its damage potential.

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- The Dominion Post

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