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Fire system passes test

Fire crew extinguishing a fire at JNL on Friday night. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

KAREN COLTMAN
[email protected]

Fire crews from Masterton, Carterton and Upper Hutt attended a fire in a veneer dryer at the Waingawa, JNL [Juken New Zealand] timber mill late last Friday.

Plywood was being processed through a large dryer, when it overheated.

Because it was at a site with much combustible material, a communications crew came from Palmerston North in case the fire spread from the closed building.

Waingawa JNL general manager Karl Burling said the plant’s steam drenching system doused the flames of the fire that started at about 11pm.

“Our emergency plans activated, and we evacuated nine staff that were working in the area whilst the fire service attended,” Burling said.

“The fire crew entered the veneer dryer once we were all certain there was no risk of backdraft.”

The dryer was then fully engulfed with water.

Burling said no staff were injured or were put in any danger. The company was fully operational again by 2pm Saturday.

Masterton Fire Station officer in charge Garry Nielsen said when the sealed room, about 50 metres long, was opened, smoke billowed out but no flames.

“It was pretty hot in there, but the fire suppression systems worked well and dealt with the fire at the outset,” Nielsen said.

“It can be very dangerous to open up a closed room that has had a fire in it but we got several hoses on it and had specialist vehicles on the scene.

“JNL operations staff were very co-operative and we got on with the job.”

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