The New Zealand Herald

Smoke on the water

- — Vaimoana Tapaleao

Police could only stand back and watch as fire destroyed a 10m yacht south of Auckland yesterday.

Fire crews from Manurewa, Papakura and the local Clevedon voluntary brigade were called to the blaze at the Wairoa River, near Clevedon — about half an hour from downtown Auckland — around 11.30am.

Local resident Tony Smith was driving towards the area when he spotted the large plume of smoke billowing from the water. “I was amazed at how big the fire was — it was really going. “It was well ablaze when I arrived and it could’ve been going for about half an hour before they got it out.”

It was quickly establishe­d no one was on board and police who arrived at the scene could only stand back.

Mr Smith said firefighte­rs, armed with a large hose, stood on another vessel and tried to doused the blaze as best they could.

The boat was destroyed, he said. A river warden, Mark Balemi, said there were about 200 to 250 vessels of all sizes moored at the marina on the Wairoa River at any one time.

Northern fire communicat­ions shift manager Steve Smith said it was not yet known what triggered the blaze, but that a fire safety officer would be looking into the cause over the next few days.

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 ?? Picture / Tony Smith ??
Picture / Tony Smith

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