Fire a blow for tyre shop staff

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KARO­LINE TUCKEY

Tony’s Tyre Ser­vice Porirua is down but not out af­ter be­com­ing the first build­ing tar­geted by a se­rial fire­bug over Queen’s Birth­day week­end.

Smoke was spot­ted ris­ing from the site at 6.30pm on Satur­day, June 4, by a po­lice­woman head­ing out to an­other emer­gency call.

Fire units re­sponded quickly and the blaze was brought un­der con­trol with six fire trucks, a lad­der unit and a haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als com­mand unit on the scene.

‘‘When we ini­tially got here it was higher than the crane, but the flames dis­ap­peared from the top af­ter prob­a­bly 10 to 15 min­utes,’’ said Sergeant Mal­colm La­mont, of Porirua po­lice. He was speak­ing from a cor­don that closed the south­ern Porirua mo­tor­way en­trance and exit, part of Paru­moana St and the round­about at the bot­tom of the ramp for sev­eral hours.

‘‘Once they got the flames un­der con­trol, it was just smoke bil­low­ing out from un­der the build­ing.’’

The fire en­gulfed part of the rear of the build­ing, and a ship­ping con­tainer stor­ing tyres and chem­i­cals, giv­ing off acrid black smoke smelt as far away as Mana Es­planade.

‘‘There is rel­a­tively sub­stan­tial dam­age to the rear of the build­ing and equip­ment in­side,’’ Tony’s Tyre Ser­vice gen­eral man­ager Heath Barclay said. ‘‘We’re not sure how or where it was started yet. It was lim­ited to the back side of the build­ing where our wheel align­ment bay is, so pretty much the other part of the build­ing was rel­a­tively un­scathed.’’

Last week the store’s staff were di­vided be­tween dif­fer­ent branches around Welling­ton to con­tinue op­er­a­tions, with some work­ing at the charred site to clean and se­cure the leased build­ing. Man­agers and the land­lord were count­ing the cost.

‘‘It’s pretty dev­as­tat­ing,’’ Mr Barclay said. ‘‘It’s ob­vi­ously a ter­ri­ble in­ci­dent for our busi­ness, but we are just work­ing on get­ting it back up and op­er­a­tional, and get­ting cus­tomers served and get­ting on with busi­ness.’’

Photo: KENT BLECHYNDEN

Charred: Some of the dam­age at Porirua Tony’s Tyre Ser­vice, one of 12 blazes lit be­tween Satur­day af­ter­noon and Sun­day morn­ing over Queen’s Birth­day week­end.

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