Port of Tauranga building 'absolutely levelled' in massive fire

Author
Bay of Plenty Times,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Friday, 10 August 2018, 1:10PM

A massive fire is burning at the entrance to the Port of Tauranga.

A police media spokeswoman said Fire and Emergency New Zealand notified them of the fire at 11.44am.

A building burns at the Port of Tauranga as emergency services work out how to tackle the blaze. Photo/Andrew WarnerA building burns at the Port of Tauranga as emergency services work out how to tackle the blaze. Photo/Andrew Warner.
Firefighters at the scene where fire burns through a container terminal at the Port of Tauranga. Photo/Andrew WarnerFirefighters at the scene where fire burns through a container terminal at the Port of Tauranga. Photo/Andrew Warner.

The fire is burning in the Tauranga Container Terminal at Sulphur Point, Mirrielees Rd. She was unable to confirm whether the fire was at the Port of Tauranga but it is understood to be on the wharf.

A massive fire is burning near the Port of Tauranga. Photo/Scott YeomanA massive fire is burning near the Port of Tauranga. Photo/Scott Yeoman

Port of Tauranga communications manager Rochelle Lockley said the fire was at a workshop and the terminal had been temporarily closed. The building was not near any vessels, she said.

"There are no reported injuries at this stage and we will update as further details become clear."

A reporter at the scene said huge clouds of smoke could be seen from the Takitimu Dr overbridge.

"There are lots of people out watching and taking photos," he said.

"I can see the flames from a good couple of hundred yards away."

There were ambulances and fire trucks on scene, he said.

The reporter said the fire was right at the entrance to the port, between 100m and 200m away from the gate.

Another reporter said men in high vis were exiting the port on foot and by vehicle.

A large fire is burning at the Port of Tauranga. Photo/Scott YeomanA large fire is burning at the Port of Tauranga. Photo/Scott Yeoman

They have been instructed not to speak to the media, she said.

Brandon Daley, a truckie from Paeroa, was inside the port gates when the fire started.

He said he saw it get "blacker and blacker" and "more and more and more".

Daley said one building was "absolutely levelled".

Daley said he was not sure if anyone was in the building when it happened. He said he could see the smoke and fire from where was standing.

"Within 5 minutes it was well underway."

Everyone was remaining calm and was he impressed with the response from the fire service, he said.

One resident, who would not be named, said he was sitting on his balcony on Cliff Rd when he heard the sirens.

"I looked up and saw the all of the smoke."

A large fire is burning near Port of Tauranga. Photo/Scott YeomanA large fire is burning near Port of Tauranga. Photo/Scott Yeoman

Another man who was watching the fire burn from the port gate said he saw the smoke from his Ōhauiti home about 15km away.

A man, who would only be known as Mark, said from his home on Minden hill that he could see "an awful lot of black smoke rising up from Tauranga".

"It was very black but now it's turning grey. The smoke is going past the big container cranes so it's pretty big."

A truck driver, who would not be named, said he was bringing in a load of wood to the port but was told he will not be allowed in. He expected to be waiting for a couple of hours.

The truckie said he was coming over the Kaimai Range when he said fellow truckies were alerted via radio.

"I saw the smoke from over the bridge."

Firefighters were still responding to the scene with lights and sirens sounding.

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman would not comment at this stage.

ON AIR: Sportstalk

7PM - 8PM