Firefighters battle freezing works blaze

Firefighters had to cut half the roof from a Hawke's Bay freezing works to get at a fire early today.

The fire, which broke out about 4am at the Silver Fern Farms freezing works in Whakatu, was thought to have started in the ''drying line'', which was the area used to dry blood and bone, incident commander Collin Littlewood said.

Six crews battled the blaze, which was largely out by 6am.

Though it was not a big fire, it was difficult to get to and crews had to cut half the roof of the plant away to reach it, he said.

The fire spread from the drying line into the boiler room, to the ceiling.

''It was a hot, smelly, sticky job,'' Littlewood said.

The cause was not entirely clear but drying lines were known to overheat, he said.

While engineers were on site when the fire broke out, they were not in the affected building.

While the fire-affected part of the plant would be out of action today, the rest of the plant was working, Littlewood said.