Cause of devastating fire still unknown

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 30/05/2014

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Fire investigators have started picking their way through the remnants of a building destroyed by a blaze at Wakatu Industrial Estate, and hope to narrow down a cause by late today.

Fire risk management officer Craig Piner said they were still investigating.

"All we managed to do yesterday was clear a whole lot of ceiling metal so we could get to the scene. It's quite a big job, but we hope that by later today we should have narrowed it down," Piner said.

Offers of help and messages of support have been coming in from the community for the business owners blighted first by flooding last year, and then Wednesday's massive fire.

The fire started at Waterblaster Solutions, owned by Grant and Andrea Sutton. They have been too distraught to comment.

Clinton Jones, managing director of neighbouring gourmet sauce and dressings firm Skippers Choice, who had only recently got the business back up to speed after the April 2013 flash flood that tore through the estate, said today many people had come forward offering help with premises, and with messages of support.

"At least four or five different options were put to me, and I'm looking at a couple, but I can't say where yet.

"I've had a lot of calls and text messages from people offering help."

Jones said other business owners had received similar feedback, including the Suttons, who had been offered space across the road in which to set up a small office and workshop.

Jones said he was allowed into the office of his premises yesterday but no further, because the building's structure was not safe.

He was able to look into the storeroom and factory.

"In some ways the water damage is not as bad, but the question is still the extent of smoke damage."

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