7 Apr 2014

Fire at storage facility 'suspicious'

7:13 am on 7 April 2014

Police in Wellington have confirmed a major fire at a storage facility in the capital is being treated as suspicious.

Fire crews were called to the blaze at 12.45am on Friday.

Fire crews were called to the blaze at 12.45am on Friday. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

The fire at the Kiwi Self Storage lock-up in Kilbirnie on Friday destroyed items including Academy awards, family heirlooms and documents.

Police say they have been talking to nearby residents as part of their inquiry. They say they know the fire started inside the facility but the cause has not yet been established.

The blaze burned for more than 24 hours and at its peak 18 crews fought the fire. Temperatures in the building topped 1000 degrees and a digger was brought in to pull down the side of a wall to allow firefighters direct access to the flames.

The top floor of one of the the complex's five buildings was destroyed, while and the lower floor escaped with smoke and water damage.

Darryl Kennedy lives across the road from the lock up and was on the scene helping fire crews as they arrived to fight the blaze.

He is surprised that arson could be to blame as he said security at the complex is tight and people need a key card to get in. "I would've thought it could've either been an electrical fault in the wiring in the building or someone has accidentally flicked a cigerette butt or something aside," he said.

But another resident, Dennis Mcanerin, believes the fire was lit deliberately. "There's people coming and going at all hours of the night," he said.

Kiwi Self Storage spokesperson Andrew Fraser says it is fully insured and some people who had units were also insured with the company.