'Huge' Auckland blaze under control

JAMES IRELAND
Last updated 17:24 04/07/2014
SEAN WILLIS & SIMON SMITH/Stuff.co.nz

Firefighters battle a large fire in Auckland's East Tamaki.

Firefighters battle the blaze, located in a bitumen tank next to a building at the Thermakraft premises.
James Ireland Zoom
Firefighters battle the blaze, located in a bitumen tank next to a building at the Thermakraft premises.

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Firefighters have put out a "huge" fire at a South Auckland manufacturing plant but will continue to keep an eye on the area.

More than 70 firefighters were needed to battle the blaze in Turin Pl, Otara, this afternoon.

The fire is thought to have started at a bitumen tank next to the Thermakraft premises, where building supplies, insulation and packaging are made.

It is not clear exactly caused the tank to ignite.

The Fire Service began to leave the area at around 5pm, though crews would check on hot spots for some time.

There had not been any reports of injuries.

Counties Manukau area commander Larry Cocker said parts of the roof had fallen down.

"We don't know how it started. We are talking to company reps."

A woman at a neighbouring business said the fire was "huge" and appeared at one point to be spreading to a neighbouring building.

Kevin Glen, who works near the building, said that when the first firefighters arrived they could not get to it because the gate was bolted.

"We saw the smoke and came out to have a look," he said.

"We could feel the heat. We first saw it at 12.30pm."

Phil Powell said he was less than 50 metres away from the area where the fire started when he heard what sounded like a diesel engine that was running on petrol get louder and louder.

"We heard it at the same time as the fire alarm started. It sounded like a big diesel motor doing too many revs. It got louder and louder before it died."

Powell is the Auckland region trainer for AMS Group, a driver training school.

"I sent my students to lunch. I was wondering whether it was going to blow up and we were going to have to make a run for it."

Powell said he went outside about two minutes after hearing the noise and saw the huge cloud of black smoke.

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