Waikato honey business picking up the pieces after devastating fire

A Waikato honey apiary and honey business has been devastated by a massive fire that destroyed its main factory.

The fire broke out at Bees Inn Apiaries on West Rd in Ohaupo, south-west of Hamilton, just after 11pm on Wednesday.

Industry survey shows bee numbers dropping

Honey industry group meets with Ag Minister over levy 'no-vote'

Fire and Emergency assistant area commander for Waikato Mark Tinworth said the building was well ablaze when crews arrived and it took around two hours to get under control.

"Because of the structure, and how it collapsed, we couldn't commit firefighters inside the building, so there was burning debris you couldn't reach with a hose," he said.

The huge fire destroyed the honey processing factory.
The huge fire destroyed the honey processing factory. Photo credit: Newshub

He said firefighters from across the Waikato worked through the night.

"We had eight appliances and four water tankers, and about 45 staff, it was a great combined effort," Tinworth said.

Bees Inn is a family owned and run business which supplies honey across New Zealand and for the export market.

Firefighters remain on site dampening down hotspots.
Firefighters remain on site dampening down hotspots. Photo credit: Newshub

Son Keith West, who lives on site, said it was shocking to see the blaze.

"I had no idea, by the time I saw the blaze the fire brigade was here," he said.

He said with the factory destroyed, it is a difficult time.

"We have to wait for the fire service to do their thing and for the insurance company to do their thing." 

The steel roof buckled and collapsed under the heat.
The steel roof buckled and collapsed under the heat. Photo credit: Newshub

He said there were around 3000 boxes of honey ready to be to be processed inside the factory.

Fire crews remain at the site to dampen down hotspots and a fire investigator is looking into the cause.

Environment Waikato has been on site to assist with the runoff.

Newshub.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz