Staff’s quick actions save factory from fire
A fire at Native Timber Joinery on Friday morning could have been much worse if not for the actions of staff, according to business co-owner Leroy Ward.
And at the forefront was fellow co-owner Stuart (Boris) Walker.
The fire at the Bruce Berquist Dr business was the result of a spark from the saw igniting the fine dust particles in the extraction system.
Staff said it happened quickly and the dust in the bag house — where the sawdust is filtered and collected in a trailer for disposal — was on fire even as the machinery was shut down.
The bag house is against a factory shed, but Stuart was quickly on to the fire hose and kept the exterior watered to stop it breaking through and spreading.
Other staff members manned the fire extinguishers to put out flames licking at the walls.
Leroy says everyone got stuck in.
“The fire training paid off.”
Staff were also able to shift some of the completed product so it wasn’t smoke or water damaged.
Firefighters moved the trailer and opened the bag house to get at the seat of the fire and used the thermal camera to look for any hot spots to determine the spread was minimal.
Leroy says while the extractor is out of action, the company is able to use other equipment to keep operating in the meantime.
“We are still able to manufacture pretty much all of our contracts, we just have to manage it all a little differently now with the equipment we have,” he says.
“This was a very quick shock to the system as any wrong decisions made at the time would have a very significant impact on the future of the company and our employees.
“I’m very grateful for our team and the calm reactions from the team captain Boris at the time.” A new bag house will be constructed as soon as possible and this time it will be further from the building as an added safety precaution.
Native Timber Joinery staff and Te Awamutu Volunteer Firefighters combined to stop a fire in the bag house spreading to the factory.