Staff’s quick ac­tions save fac­tory from fire

Te Awamutu Courier - - Front Page - BY DEAN TAY­LOR

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.

Photo / Dean Tay­lor

Na­tive Tim­ber Join­ery staff and Te Awa­mutu Vol­un­teer Fire­fight­ers com­bined to stop a fire in the bag house spread­ing to the fac­tory.

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