Lithium batteries may have caused large Ōtāhuhu scrap yard fire

Lithium batteries from hybrid vehicles are being looked at as a potential cause of a large fire at a South Auckland car wreckers' yard.

The blaze broke out after 10pm Saturday night in Ōtāhuhu and was attended by multiple crews from 12 fire trucks working to put out the flames in windy conditions.

The fire completely destroyed 74 vehicles, equating up to $400,000 worth of damage.

While the cause is still under investigation, there is an area of origin that's already been singled out: an area where lithium-ion batteries lie.

The owner said they're batteries from hybrid vehicles that he bought from a yard that sells car parts.

"We have them as an area of origin. We don't actually know what caused the fire though," FENZ Counties Manukau Assistant Commander Phil Larcombe told Newshub.

"There's many ways a lithium style battery can catch fire. Usually there's damage to the batteries which results to the fire. It's been a very hot couple of days up here in Auckland so that may have played a part in it as well."

Larcombe said there's a been a growing number of fire starting from electric or hybrid car batteries.

"Globally it is a trend that we're seeing obviously with electric vehicles, hybrid type vehicles, scooters, bikes etc around the world and in New Zealand."

The advice is to charge batteries in a well-ventilated place and ensure the battery hasn't been damaged in any way.

Larcombe thanked the fire crews who worked very hard to put the flames out in about two hours despite challenging conditions.