NES warns of fire fume danger

Thursday June 21, 2018 Written by Published in Environment
The blackened shell of the Friendly Mart building, as it looked early last Friday morning. The photo was taken on Akaoa No1 Rd at the rear of the store, where eyewitnesses claim the fire broke out. The blackened shell of the Friendly Mart building, as it looked early last Friday morning. The photo was taken on Akaoa No1 Rd at the rear of the store, where eyewitnesses claim the fire broke out.

Toxic smells still coming from the burned-out shell of the Friendly Mart store have prompted a warning from the National Environment Service for people to keep away from the Arorangi building.

The service is also advising neighbours to avoid inhaling the fumes still coming from the burned-out interior of the store. The building contained a wide variety of products, some of which could possibly have produced potentially harmful airborne toxins.

Advisory and compliance division manager Vavia Tangatataia said NES officers had called in to check what was left of the Friendly Mart on Tuesday.

Asked about the possibility of the fire having produced toxic fumes, Tangatataia told CINews he and his colleagues had discussed that in terms of the safety of not only surrounding neighbours but the community as a whole.

“To our understanding, nothing else is being done besides the ongoing investigation of the cause of the fire and you’re quite right in saying that everything in the shop has been burnt (and that there is) maybe the smell of toxic fumes in the area.

“There’s nothing much we can do; the damage has been done. But our advice is for the community to keep away from the site.

“There might be an urgent need to clear the contaminated debris but it’s not like to happen any sooner until full investigation on the cause of fire is complete.”

The iconic store, operated by Doreen Boggs and her husband Steve, was destroyed in a fire thought to have broken out at around 11pm last Friday. Six fire trucks from the airport and Puaikura and Teimurimotia fire stations attended the blaze, thought by eyewitnesses to have started at the back of the store.

Meanwhile, Rescue Fire Service chief fire officer Willie Hagai says the planned investigation into the cause of the blaze at the insured building is on hold “at the moment”.

“We are waiting for the fire investigators from Tower Insurance arriving this Saturday,” he said yesterday.

“We will start the investigation once they get here.”

Leave a comment