Firefighters tackle Southland factory blaze

  • 29/09/2010

Firefighters are battling a large sawdust blaze at a wood processing plant in Southland.

The Fire Service was called to the Dongwha Patinna plant on State Highway 1 south of Mataura, about 12km southwest of Gore, about 12.50pm today.

Crews from six fire engines were working to cool down and extinguish the fire, Fire Service southern communications shift manager Riwai Grace said.

Dongwha Patinna general manager Murray Wallace said workers noticed smoke at an area of the plant where large sheets of medium density fibreboard were being to cut into smaller pieces about 12.45pm.

"We shut down the plant as a precaution. At this point no staff have been injured and all staff are accounted for... basically we're waiting for the all-clear, and after we've got that we can go in and assess if there's any damage or not," he told NZPA.

Mr Wallace said the affected area was "a key part of the plant, but it's not a major competent of it in terms of overall plant viability".

The plant makes fibreboard by pressing and heating fine wood particles.

The blaze comes two years after smouldering wood dust exploded from a duct, seriously burning 30-year-old Wallacetown man Blair Lindsay and causing minor burns to a second man.

Firefighters at the time said there were several fires a year at the plant.

NZPA

source: newshub archive