Pie cart burns down after fryer explodes
The well-known Alexandra Pie Cart was gutted by a fire late Saturday afternoon after the deep fryer on board the cart exploded because of an electrical fault.
The Alexandra Fire Brigade were called to the fire about 4.50pm but could do nothing to save the cart, which was fully involved by the time firefighters arrived.
Pie cart owner Trevor Lyons said he had been warming up the vats in preparation to cook for the evening when the fire broke out.
The fire took to the cart "extremely quick" after the vats started smoking and exploded, Mr Lyons said.
He was taken to Dunstan Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns which he suffered after running through flames to get out of the cart.
"We are lost for words ... it's devastating," he said.
Mr Lyons bought the pie cart 16 years ago; there had been a pie cart in Alexandra since 1957.
It was a community business and it was saddening that he could no longer serve customers garlic chips and doner kebabs, he said.
The cart was insured.
Senior Constable John Clark, of Alexandra, said tributes, photos and videos of the incident have been appearing on social networking sites, including Facebook and YouTube, as people lined the Alexandra's main street, Centennial Ave, and recorded the drama unfolding.
Maxine Williams, who first noticed billowing large plumes of black smoke while driving to Alexandra from Earnscleugh, said high flames were seen coming from every opening in the cart and there had been no chance of saving it.
Southern region fire safety officer Stuart Ide said the fire was believed to have started after an electrical component of the deep fat fryer failed. The fryer had overheated after the thermostat failed causing it to catch fire, Mr Ide said. It was the third fire in Central Otago in five hours that involved people cooking, he said.
The Southland Times