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'Extensive damage' after fire near New Plymouth

Published: 5:56AM Wednesday February 20, 2013 Source: ONE News

The owner of a saw mill that went up in flames last night says fixing the damage will not happen overnight.

Fire services were called to the scene to fight the large factory fire at a sawmill in Bell Block, near New Plymouth at around 10.30pm.
The fire services said the blaze, at Taranaki Sawmills on Hudson Road, was well alight when they arrived, but was brought under control within one hour.

"It appears to have started in one of the planners in the factory," said senior station officer Nick Burke.

He said staff were on a break and no one was inside when the fire started.

"They heard a bang and saw the building was on fire."

Tom Boon, chief executive of Taranaki Pine, said today he would look at the extent of the damage, and see how soon they can begin operating again.

Boon said the equipment is "crucial" to their operation, but they have two of the machines, and one is damaged and one is not.

"It's not going to be an overnight fix that's for sure, and fairly extensive damage from what I can see."

He said everyone had been accounted for and there were no injuries.

Meanwhile, fire crews continue to battle a large blaze on Department of Conservation land north of Auckland.

Eleven fire appliances and three helicopters are being used to fight the blaze, which broke out on Okahakura Road, Tapora, at around 11pm last night.