Silverdale fire takes entire day to extinguish

Herman Pacific employee Chris Wells captured the impressive flare up.

A fire that started on April 3 in the Silverdale industrial area was only officially declared extinguished a day later.

The blaze and explosion was in a 15m tall structure at timber manufacturer Herman Pacific’s north yard, which firefighters say contained sawdust from extractors.

Silverdale station officer Jim Maclean was the initial incident controller. He says three fire appliances, two from Silverdale and one from East Coast Bays station responded to the alarm at 7.50am.

It was clear from the start that no people were at risk from the blaze.

“As we approached, we were told about the explosion and I could see a large column of black smoke,” Jim says. “At that stage I called for more backup.”

At one point  as many as 12 appliances from stations as far away as Birkenhead, Otahuhu and Te Atatu responded to the fire, as well as several support vehicles, fire investigators and managers.

However, most of these were stood down when it became clear that the fire could be prevented from spreading to adjacent buildings.

A key piece of equipment – an aerial appliance from Parnell – was used to enable firefighters to remove metal cladding to better attack the fire.

Putting out the fire took all day – 30-40 firefighters were actively involved, including one who suffered minor burns when burning sawdust dropped onto him.

Jim says that Herman Pacific had someone watch overnight to ensure there was no further smoke, and early the next morning the fire was officially declared out.

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