A large industrial rubbish fire in Auckland’s Onehunga which saw smoke billow into the sky has been contained.
Firefighting crews are expected to remain at the scene overnight and into tomorrow, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) said this evening.
“Fresh crews will come in in the morning, with operations expected to continue at least through most of the day tomorrow.
“Fire investigators will return to the scene tomorrow to ascertain the cause of the fire.”
Emergency services were called to the scene after a pile of wood chips caught alight at a waste facility.
Around forty firefighters, supported by two helicopters, are working to extinguish the fire that currently measures 50x30m.
FENZ said that there was also damage to a building within the site.
Evacuations which took place earlier today were of neighbouring commercial properties. There were no residential evacuations.
“Households and workplaces in the area of the fire should continue to keep windows and doors closed,” a FENZ spokesperson said.
“Anyone in the vicinity is advised to keep out of the smoke.”
Green Gorilla chief executive Elaine Morgan said that the cause of the fire at the facility was under investigation.
“I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the dedicated Green Gorilla staff for their swift response to the fire incident. Through their adherence to safety protocols and best practices, we have thankfully avoided any injuries.”
The Onehunga facility diverts waste from landfills, including separating recyclable materials such as metal, wood, rubble, cardboard, paper, aluminium cans, steel, and plastic bottles. The wood chipping operation converts treated and untreated wood into useful products such as biofuel, landscaping chips, and animal bedding.
Morgan said that she understands the concern and impact this incident may have on the local community and environment.
“Green Gorilla is committed to working closely with local authorities, emergency services, and relevant stakeholders to address the situation swiftly and effectively.”
Police and Fire and Emergency NZ were first made aware of the Victoria St blaze at around 1pm on Wednesday.
One Onehunga local who earlier spoke to 1News described the fire as “huge”.
The intersection of Neilson and Victoria streets closed around 2pm, with Waka Kotahi NZTA asking motorists to avoid the areas.
Fire and Emergency asks the public to avoid the southern area of Victoria St and Neilsen St to allow emergency services access to the fire ground.