Palmerston North landmark ablaze in central square

8:09 pm on 18 October 2021

By Jimmy Ellingham in Palmerston North

A fire in a landmark Palmerston North building is believed to be suspicious.

Fire-damaged High Flyers building in Palmerston North

The building's eastern side was damaged by smoke. Photo: RNZ / Jimmy Ellingham

Emergency services rushed to the High Flyers building on the Square about 5.15pm on Monday as a blaze broke out in the second storey.

Smoke was pouring from the eastern end and blowing across the city during rush hour.

Fire and Emergency NZ had six fire trucks, a command unit and an aerial appliance at the scene, and surrounding roads were closed while firefighters battled the blaze.

Fire in Palmerston North at the High Flyers building on The Square

Photo: RNZ / Jimmy Ellingham

Palmerston North fire station officer Nick Pine said it was brought under control in about 40 minutes.

By 7pm most emergency services workers were leaving the scene, but Pine said fire investigators were remaining.

"We're looking at it as suspicious," he said.

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Firefighters enter the building's top storey. Photo: RNZ / Jimmy Ellingham

A police spokeswoman said officers were helping with traffic diversions.

The Edwardian-era building is a former city post office, but has been empty for about four years and has fallen into disrepair. It is often targeted by vandals and is unsafe to enter.

It recently housed bars, including High Flyers, which closed in 2013.