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'It's huge': Blaze at Auckland waste facility leads to evacuations

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 7 Feb 2024, 2:05pm

'It's huge': Blaze at Auckland waste facility leads to evacuations

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 7 Feb 2024, 2:05pm

Large flames and billowing smoke can be seen for several kilometres as emergency services respond to a massive fire at a waste facility in Onehunga, Auckland.

Police have begun evacuations of those immediately downwind from the fire at a site on Victoria St.

Fire an Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) issued an emergency alert at 3.41pm to mobile phones warning residents in the area to close all windows and doors.

A Fenz spokesperson said crews were alerted to a well-involved fire in Onehunga just after 1pm.

“There are 22 crews on the ground working to contain the large fire that is 60 metres by 50 metres in size. One structure is on fire and a second structure is being threatened by fire,” Femz said in a later release about 3.45pm.

“Households and workplaces in the area of the fire should close windows, doors and ventilation systems.”

Two helicopters are in the air fighting the blaze also.

Local Auckland Councillor for the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki Ward, Josephine Bartley, posted on her social media that the “source of the fire appears to have been a woodchip pile”.

“The fire appears to involve two buildings on the same address. The are currently no welfare concerns we are aware of.”

Video taken of the fire, which the Herald understands is at Green Gorilla on Victoria St, shows massive flames visible from about 1km.

There are massive flames coming from the fire in Onehunga. Photo / Keir Robertson

Fire crews and workers at the Gorilla Green Waste facility. Photo / Dean Purcell

The smoke is visible from more than 20km away in Milford on Auckland’s North Shore, a photo from a Herald reader shows.

An employee at Green Gorilla told the Herald he didn’t see how the fire started but everything quickly caught alight.

“We were in the workshop when it happened, so didn’t see it, but heard that a bit a bit of timber had started it,” the employee said.

He said all employees had been asked to evacuate the facility alongside all other businesses on the street due to smoke.

One man at work in the neighbouring suburb of Ōtāhuhu said the fire had “massively increased” in the 15 minutes he had been watching.

People on social media said the flames were six to nine metres high, while others have reported seeing the fire from the nearby Southwestern Motorway.

A staff member at a nearby business said they could see a large plume of black smoke coming from the building.

”The flames have risen considerably and are well above the building we can see which is about 8-9m high.”

“It’s quite windy here, a south westerly wind is blowing.”

St John said it currently has one ambulance and two rapid response units on scene but has not treated any patients at this stage.

The fire at the Gorilla Green Waste facility on Victoria Rd in Onehunga. Photo / Dean Purcell
The fire at the Gorilla Green Waste facility on Victoria Rd in Onehunga. Photo / Dean Purcell

Fire crews battle the massive blaze. Photo / Dean Purcell
Fire crews battle the massive blaze. Photo / Dean Purcell

“It’s huge! We can see the flames from Norman’s Hill Road over a kilometre away!” one person wrote on a local community page.

A police spokesperson said they are on the scene assisting with traffic management.

Auckland Transport (AT) said due to a fire the road is closed at the intersection of Neilson St and Victoria St in Onehunga.

“Avoid this area or expect delays with diversions in place affecting all traffic, including bus services,” AT said.

Large flames and billowing smoke can be seen for several kilometres as emergency services respond to a massive fire at a waste facility in Ōnehunga, Auckland. Photo / Hayden Woodward

More to come

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