31 Jan 2018

Dunedin fire: 2000 tonnes of dry logs up in flames

8:33 pm on 31 January 2018

The owner of a timber and firewood business in Dunedin is coming to terms with potentially losing everything at his yard while a fire tears through Dunedin.

The fire in Burnside in Dunedin.

The fire is raging the Burnside industrial complex. Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

Homes in the Dunedin suburbs of Burnside and Concord have been evacuated as a large fire burns in the area, with three industrial buildings still ablaze.

Peter Chalmers, who owns the Valley Lumber yard on McLeod's Road, said the fire started this afternoon about 800m up the hill, and as soon as he saw it he phoned 111.

"I tried to shift some machinery and everything out of the way, and by the time I came back - I had to deliver a load of firewood ... fires were developing in the yard from the cinders ... everything's bone dry."

He said there was more than 2000 tonnes of dry logs which went up in 30m flames.

"Within about five minutes it was just 'bang', out of control," he said.

Six helicopters and fire crews were responding, but Mr Chalmers said it might be too late for his business.

"I know probably my firewood stock has gone. I don't know about my building. I've got a lot of dry timber and strip stack throughout the yard.

"I personally think the whole lot will be gone."

He said he only had partial insurance and estimated about $250,000 - $300,000 worth of stock had burned.

But it was not just his business, he said.

"There's industrial buildings on fire. There's a truck repair firm, I'd say they're wiped out," he said.

"There's drums of volatiles exploding at the truck repair firm. There's a lot of buildings there with storage and everything but, I'd say, it's a total loss."

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