Dubious dump fire damages digger

17:00, Jun 30 2014

A $350,000 digger was damaged when more than 15 tonnes of rubbish was set alight at the New Plymouth dump on Sunday night.

Firefighters were called to the Colson Rd Transfer Station about 10.55pm and spent more than an hour putting out a blaze in the covered pit area, Senior Station Officer Nick Burke said.

"When we arrived there was a whole lot of rubbish on fire," he said.

"We are not sure what caused it, but the manager thinks it was deliberately lit."

About 15 to 20 tonnes of general waste and the digger were in the pit at the time, manager Ian Coombe said.

"It was left for half of Saturday and all of Sunday, while we waited to reopen today," he told the Taranaki Daily News yesterday. "It could've been deliberately lit. I've been there 15 years and we've never had a fire," Coombe said.

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Burke said the blaze damaged the back end of the digger but firefighters were able to put the fire out before the digger was destroyed.

"At a price of $350,000 I would've been very disappointed if it had been [destroyed]," Coombe said.

Burke said two crews attended, with one fire engine being used to ferry water from Smart Rd to the site.

Coombe said police had investigated the scene yesterday morning.

Taranaki Daily News