Huge fire engulfs building in Hamilton

(Sharyn Syme / supplied)
(Sharyn Syme / supplied)

The public is warned to steer clear of a massive fire which has engulfed a tyre shop in central Hamilton.

A plume of dark smoke can be seen across the city as the Anglesea St business is devoured by flames, and it's feared it could be toxic.

"There's possible asbestos in the roofing so we'll need to be careful how we treat that so the asbestos won't be released into the environment," says fire service spokesperson Scott Osmond.

Huge fire engulfs building in Hamilton


Fire crews from across Waikato were called in to battle the blaze at AH Franks Tyres, which is now under control.

It's the second blaze at the scene in less than 24 hours - emergency services were also called to the same site for a fire on Sunday night.

But it's also the third time the building has gone up in flames in four years. Both previous fires are believed to have been deliberately lit, while investigators are also treating Monday's blaze as suspicious.

Jim Nolen, the owner of the tyre store, says it's devastating. He took extra precautions after Sunday's suspected arson to no avail.

"I'm shattered, to be honest - I'm almost numb."

Mr Nolen doesn't think he has any enemies, and can't understand why he's being targeted.

The street was cordoned off on Monday morning, but the smoke has been so thick it can be seen from several kilometres away.

It can be also seen from the sky. Matt Dwen was on a flight from Auckland to Napier when he snapped the dark plume.

"We were probably climbing out of Auckland when I first noticed some smoke looking south... once we got a bit higher I could see it was coming from the Hamilton CBD," he said.

Huge fire engulfs building in Hamilton

(Matt Dwen / supplied)

Resident Alida Shanks told Newshub she could see the smoke from around 8km away at Rototuna, while the Murfitt family in Hamilton East described seeing "plumes of thick, black smoke forming a massive funnel of smoke".

And Shazia Bano, a receptionist at the nearby Quality Hotel on Ulster St, said the smoke is dominating the skyline.

"I can see a thick cloud of smoke coming out of there and spreading all the way to the other side of Hamilton," she told Newshub.

Huge fire engulfs building in Hamilton

(Sharyn Syme / supplied)

Two fire investigators are at the scene and the blaze is being treated as suspicious.