A fire has broken out in a Porirua office block this morning but a medical unit in the building managed to keep running throughout the evacuation.
Incident controller Trevor Sheehan said the fire, in the BNZ Tower on Hartham Pl, was reported at 11am.
The fire, which is now out, was contained to a 2nd floor office.
But a 3rd floor medical unit, where patients were undergoing treatment, was able to keep running while the rest of the building was evacuated.
Eleven fire trucks were at the scene.
While there were early reports of injuries, this was wrong, he said.
The cause of the fire was not yet known.
''We were lucky it had a good smoke system so it kept the level of smoke to a minimum.''
Holly Thompson, from the Porirua Chamber of Commerce, said the building was evacuated at about 11.30am.
It appeared there was a fire in a law office on the second floor.
''It looked like the heating vent had caught fire so they put on the fire alarm and we were all evacuated pretty quickly. We could see fire coming out of the front window.''
She had been told they would be out of the building for another two hours.
Lindsey Bryson from Christina Leech Law where the fire broke out said she could smell burning.
"But we could often smell that because of workmen doing things in the building. But we could smell it in one room so I quickly shut the door to the office.
"There were flames coming out of the air vent. I thought the whole ceiling was burning."
Fire officers had not been able to tell them what caused the fire, but it looked like only water damage was caused by the sprinklers, Ms Bryson said.
Neil Davidson was plugged into a dialysis machine when the room started filling with smoke.
A patient at Porirua Community Dialysis Centre, he said it was "a bit scary" when it was became clear there was a fire in the building.
"I just wanted to get out. The firemen came up and told us not to worry but we were all ready to come down.
"I wanted to jump out the window but I was still hooked up."
They tried to keep each other calm before chatting while firemen worked to clear the smoke.
"When it happened I waved to the other people and said goodbye, we're going to die now. Some said they wanted to get out but I just thought it was my time."
Patients were being checked over and he was given the all clear to leave, Mr Davidson said.
"I'm very happy, I'm going home."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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