Factory fire 'suspicious'
Police are seeking witnesses after the Hynds Pipe Systems factory in Palmerston North was damaged in a suspected arson.
Palmerston North firefighters were alerted to a fire at the Tremaine Ave building about 7.45pm on Sunday.
The burnt building housed the company's manufacturing plant, where concrete products are produced.
Its retail component across the road is still fully operational.
The site was put under guard while a scene investigation was carried out by fire safety officers and police yesterday.
Palmerston North Detective Shelley Ross said the investigations revealed the fire started in "suspicious circumstances" inside the building. There was a substantial amount of plastic material inside the factory in the area the fire was believed to have started, which caused the blaze to spread quickly.
Senior fire station officer Ian King, who described the fire as "spectacular", said the plumes of black smoke coming from the building could be seen throughout the city, resulting in numerous calls to the fire service.
The fire damaged the structure of the building and some of the offices in the factory but most of the building had been saved by firefighters, Ms Ross said.
Hynds managing director Adrian Hynds said the building damaged by fire was its component part manufacturing factory, where precast concrete products were made.
Police had told him a window had been broken to gain access to the building.
Part of the structure of that building, roof, window and wall area, an administration area and a forklift were damaged.
Mr Hynds said the manufacturing gear had not been damaged.
Contractors had been called in to start work on the repairs as soon as investigators were finished with the site yesterday and he hoped the factory would be back in production on tomorrow.
The fire was a "distraction and a disruption" but staff could work in the other half of the building, pending a full safety review, while it was being repaired.
A search of the area found a fence behind the factory had been damaged some time since December 28, when staff were last working near that part of the site.
Police would like to hear from anyone who saw any suspicious activity in that area between December 28 and the night of the fire, and from 6pm on the night of the blaze.
Information can be provided to Palmerston North police on 351 3600 or the anonymous Crimestoppers line 0800 555 111.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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