Emergency services battled huge flames after a massive three-floor building caught fire in Tūākau, North Island, New Zealand.
At one point, the flames were shooting as high as 30 metres into the air, leading to the huge plumes of toxic black smoke which could be seen in the sky above.
Fire and Emergency NZ (Fenz) stated that they received several calls before 8.20pm regarding a building that is on fire on Lapwood Rd.
22 Fenz appliances were on the scene by 10.40pm, trying to tackle the third-alarm fire. As reported, the fire started at Tūākau Proteins, which is a meat processing and animal by-product rendering plant.
Station officer, Matt Wilson, said that when he turned up to the station, he could see the glow of the fire in the distance. “You could see the glow in the distance and could see smoke down there.”
The crews also faced a challenge upon trying to control the fire, as there were no fire hydrants on site. However, “There was a pond there, so we dipped into that.”
The crew had to run a substantial number of hoses down to the closest hydrant, located kilometres down the road.
A Fenz spokesperson also confirmed that it took about four hours for the team to bring the fire under control.
It was initially understood by the Firefighters that the building was 50m x 40m in size. However in a later update the team revealed that it was a three-floor 200m x 200m building.
"Now that we've got a better look at it, it's a much bigger building than they first thought it was. The fire is located in the building and completely involved."
Two crews remained on scene after the hard work, awaiting two fire investigators who arrived later that day to determine the cause of fire.
Tūākau local, Geneivre Stenklev-Gussey, said that she heard “explosions and cracking” coming from the plant at about 8.30pm while she was home in Geraghtys Rd. She added that she could see the flames engulfing the nearby buildings and plumes of smoke billowing into the sky.
One of the residents, Dave Lesperance, confirmed that he was able to see flames shooting 30 metres into the air. "The whole thing was on fire. It's not windy, so the smoke cloud went straight up."
The Fenz spokesman added that there were no reports of any injuries and that the building was empty. The spokesperson also added that the fire provided a “free attraction for people to come down and look at” but the road was closed off and there had been no issues related to bystanders.