Three people have been taken to hospital with smoke inhalation after an explosion at a Takanini business this morning.
A fire communications spokesman said three crews were sent to the Great South Rd printing shop after they received the call at 10.09am.
Papatoetoe fire service senior station officer Alex Betteridge believed an overheating shrink wrap machine had ignited cans of CRC.
The machine, which was being used to wrap CRC giftpacks, had been left on unattended, he said.
''Excessive heat then got into the cans and caused the explosion,'' he said.
The crews arrived before 10.20am and the fire was brought under control.
Witness Brett Robinson was working over the road at Barry's Tires and Mechanical Services when they heard the explosion, which reportedly sounded like a car backfiring.
"It was just one noise actually, like a 'boom', but then everybody sort of looked around and didn't see anything and then probably five or 10 minutes later' that's when we saw the people running around and seeing the flames and the smoke coming out the door."
The smoke was coming out underneath one door and over the top of another roller door, Robinson claims.
"You couldn't see many flames."
A man in his 50s reportedly ran back into the building before fire crews arrived.
Robinson said a number of neighbours went to help with fire extinguishers but they were told to "p*** off" by a lady who was holding a dog outside.
"So we thought 'Oh well, let it burn then'."
He did not know why she told them to leave.
Robinson said fire crews arrived and doused the flames, though it looked like it was already going out on its own.
"They [had] run in with a couple of extinguishers but then they run back out because the smell of the smoke was pretty strong."
The man who ran back into the building and a younger man, who looked to be in his twenties, both received treatment for smoke inhalation at the scene, he said.
It was not known whether the two were those reportedly taken to hospital.
- Fairfax NZ