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Industrial blaze stops traffic

Thick clouds of smoke from a fire at an industrial complex poured onto SH2 in Solway, Masterton yesterday afternoon.

The poor visibility due to the plumes of smoke billowing from the complex by the Waingawa River reduced motorists on the stretch of road to a crawl while crews from multiple fire stations battled the blaze after the Masterton fire crew escalated the job to a second alarm.

Crews from Carterton and Greytown – including a tanker and a rural crew – answered the call, according to a Fire and Emergency [Fenz] spokesperson.

The report of a fire at the privately owned industrial yard was received at about 2.20pm. It had initially been a controlled vegetation fire that had been burning for a number of days but had gotten out of hand after it had been picked up and fanned by high winds.

As of 4.15pm the fire had been contained, and four crews were still on the scene, using an excavator to turn over organic materials and continuing to dampen down the surrounding area.

At the height of the inferno, fire crews were focused on extinguishing the flames while also protecting any exposed structures, the Fenz spokesperson said.

An onlooker at the scene reported seeing one of the nearby buildings on fire and another that was continually flaring, with firefighters steadily hosing them down while others took hoses to different areas of the yard.

Crews doused the site and sparking material with water while the high winds continued to distribute thick plumes of smoke across SH2 and the surrounding areas.

Police confirmed they also responded to the blaze after being advised by Fenz, and a spokesperson said there were no reports of injuries.

Another appliance from Masterton Fire Station was scheduled to go back to the scene of the fire at 6pm with a thermal imaging camera and to check for any remaining hotspots.

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