Fire a blow for tyre shop staff
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.’’
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.