Firefighters have contatined a large blaze in a Nelson industrial building.
The fire started about 3pm in a waterblasting firm in a building in the Wakatu Industrial Estate. A staff member attempted to put the fire out before warning employees in an adjoining double-storey building.
All staff were evacuated safely, but the fire spread to the adjoining building. At one stage it appeared to be under control before flaring up again in the roof space.
About six companies share the two-storey building. Distressed business owners were at the scene, but were too upset to talk.
Smoke from the fire was visible from Stoke and nearby State Highway 6 along Whakatu Drive, slowing traffic to a crawl.
Workers in neighbouring businesses said the fire was well ablaze when they were made aware of it and told to evacuate their buildings.
‘‘Guys came in and said there is a big fire. It was power off, doors closed and out,’’ a woman who worked in a building adjacent to the blaze said.
Tony Eden said the fire was big flames and black smoke. He also heard a number of small explosions.
‘‘The smoke was blocking out the sun,’’ he said.
Fire service Nelson area commander Graeme Daikee said the complex housed a series of businesses in different buildings and had a complicated roof design.
Daikee said the fire had spread into the roof of the two-storey building that adjoined the fire. Firefighters at the scene were working to gain access into the different roof areas. The fact the roof areas were made of multi-layered materials meant the fire was difficult to fight.
The fire was contained in the building complex but firefighters would be at the scene for some time, he said.
The waterblasting firm's premises were gutted.
Firefighters from Richmond, Stoke, Nelson and Wakefield were called to the blaze.
The cause of the fire would be looked into by a fire investigator.
‘‘Any fire involving our local industry is a concern because it affects the economy. It takes a long time for premises to recover from fire.’’
- The Nelson Mail
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