Monday, October 17, 2011

Fears fire would affect Auckland's electricity

Published: 4:52AM Tuesday October 18, 2011 Source: Fairfax
  • Fears fire would affect Auckland's electricity (Source: NZPA)
    Source: NZPA
A fat fire in a large food factory prompted a major fire service call-out early this morning amid fears it might affect the main electricity lines into Auckland.
Auckland Area Commander Murray Binning said a deep fryer in the middle of the Mr Chips factory in Kirwan Ave, East Tamaki, caught fire at around 3.30am.
"Sprinklers contained the fire very quickly, but we had problems getting to some of the burning fat in ducting in the factory," he said.
They were also concerned that 220kv power lines, part of the national power grid, passed right over the factory.
"Sometimes, if the smoke is thick enough, it can cause arcing, but our staff was well aware of it."
Binning said 16 fire trucks were used to fight the blaze.
"It's a big factory and we had to be aware of what was happening. The sprinklers were doing their job and it reinforces what we always say, that sprinklers make a difference."
Although the firefighters union is currently in dispute over wages with the Fire Service, Binning said industrial action had no impact on the Mr Chip's fire.
"The industrial action is not impacting on operational matters... This fire was well handled and everything is fine."
Police Senior Sergeant Ian Benchley said the fire "bloody stunk".
"You know when someone's been frying food and they haven't opened a kitchen window, that's what it was like."
There were no injuries and much of the factory was re-opened and resuming work.
A fire safety investigator would examine the fryer and try to determine what caused the blaze.

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