More than 50 firefighters battled a ‘fifth-alarm’ blaze next to the Carter Holt Harvey sawmill in Thames yesterday, fanned by storm-force winds that swept across the country.


The fire broke out at Smart Environment Recycling Centre at the Kopu Industrial Complex, which shares the same site as the Carter Holt Harvey mill on Ngati Maru Highway, late on Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday as firefighters struggled to contain it.


Fire communications shift manager, Daniel Nicholson, told media there were multiple large fires on the site involving timber, recycled materials and large amounts of wood shavings and bark.


Mr Nicholson says conditions were made more difficult due to high winds and it took fire crews well into the following day to finally bring it under control. Three buildings were said to have been destroyed but there was no damage to the sawmill next door.


The cause of the blaze is believed to be spontaneous combustion from the sawdust.

Posted on Thursday 12th April 2018

Fire hits Kopu plant

Fire crews battled strong winds to contain the blaze at the next to the CHH sawmill near Thames. Photo – Thames Volunteer Fire Brigade.

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