Recycling truck hits cafe

KATASHA MCCULLOUGH AND SARAH ARGYLE
Last updated 14:19 25/06/2014

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Almost 50 people were forced to evacuate a cafe when a 21-tonne recycling truck ripped apart its verandah.

Emergency services were called to Sausalito on Queen St, Northcote Point on Auckland's North Shore at about 12.15pm today.

Birkenhead fire station officer Willie McDonnell said the truck was reversing out of Clarence Rd onto Queen St its rear end collided with the verandah.

The driver then tried to go forwards but caused more damage, pulling the overhang apart.

Sausalito owner Dennis Wiley said there were about 40 customers and six staff inside the cafe.

''We're lucky the weather was a bit inclement today. If it had been a sunny day those tables out there would have been packed.''

Glenfield resident Caroline Milner was planning to see a movie but Bridgeway Cinema, which neighbours the cafe, is also closed until the damage can be repaired.

Milner said elderly patrons were shifted onto the other side of the road so they could continue eating their scones.

Wiley says customers were not charged for their half-eaten meals.

Vector was also on the scene to shut off the gas as an outdoor heater was left dangling from the verandah.

Wiley opened the cafe almost exactly 17 years ago and says the intersection of Clarence Rd and Queen St is ''nasty''.

While working at Sausalito his parked car was damaged when another vehicle spun out and smashed into it.

The cafe was also forced to close earlier this month when a storm smashed a window and tore away side screens.

''I've had awful luck with this corner,'' Wiley said.

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