Fire destroys Olde Creamery Cafe's high tea collection
If it hadn't been for the quick actions of a neighbour, a fire could have taken a lot more than the sheds out back of The Olde Creamery Cafe near Ohaupo.
When Greg Mitchell heard a bang about 4am yesterday, he leapt from his bed.
A look next door confirmed that a massive fire had broken out at his neighbour's property.
"There was a hell of a bang and I woke up and thought 'what the hell was that?'. I just ran over straight away," he said.
"I was the first on the scene. I took three fire extinguishers over and the idea was to hold it back from the cafe until the fire brigade got there," he said.
When he reached the sheds at the back of the property, they were "well ablaze", Mr Mitchell said.
"Without the fire brigade arriving when they did, that cafe would be gone, no doubt about it. I would say probably another 15 minutes and it would've got into the cafe itself so they're very lucky," he said.
And it was a relief for Mr Mitchell, too, because he had historical family ties to the property.
"The cafe itself was my grandparents' old homestead, so it's bloody good that it didn't burn down."
Although the historic homestead and cafe were spared, the sheds contained hundreds of items used for high teas and weddings that cafe owner Chris Edmeades had been collecting for about 10 years. Along with the crystal and china, 150 high tea trios - each with cup, saucer and plate, valued at $45 a set - were destroyed.
The cafe had already received offers of tea sets to use temporarily, Ms Edmeades said, but she welcomed more.
"That would be my little plea.
"If anyone could lend us some high tea trios, I would so appreciate it."
The cafe would be closed today, but back up and running on Thursday.
"We're going to build from the ashes like a phoenix. We've just got to get on with it and do your best."
Northern Fire Service communications shift manager Steve Smith said four fire engines along with four water tankers were sent to battle the blaze.