LATEST: More than a dozen owners have lost their motorhomes and several other vehicles have been destroyed after a fire ripped through the storage shed they were being kept in in Paeroa this morning.
Five fire appliances attended the fire at Paeroa R.V. Centre at 10 Coronation St after the trust-owned commercial building was reported to be on fire shortly before 5am this morning.
Ron Campbell, one of approximately 100 shareholders in the trust that privately-owned the building and the camping area beside it, said at first he thought the banging tin sound he heard when he woke shortly after 4.30am was being caused by strong winds.
"I looked up through the skylight and saw the sky was glowing red.
"I checked out the windows and saw the fire.’’
Mr Campbell quickly banged on a neighbour’s caravan, but found he was already awake, before attaching his own caravan to his vehicle and pulling it to safety.
His caravan which was parked near the building to make the most of the power supply, had couple of its windows cracked before he could move it.
"That’s how hot it was."
Mr Campbell, who worked as a relief milker, said there were about a dozen people who stayed at the camping ground regularly, and everyone there today moved their homes to safety.
"I’m one of the lucky ones."
He said many of the shareholders who stored their vehicles in the shed lived overseas.
In terms of insurance Mr Campbell was not a trust director so he did not know the details, but he believed the property was covered.
Waikato fire safety officer Kevin Holmes said fire fighters were still busy dampening down hot spots to make the site safe.
"At least a dozen motorhomes, as well as a number of cars and a couple of motorbikes have been destroyed," Mr Holmes said.
He said it was too early to say what had caused the fire.
"It’s hard to tell. It’s going to be quite a long process - it will probably take the rest of today and into tomorrow to find out."
- Waikato Times