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Fire at recycling plant near Thames contained

Fire at recycling plant near Thames contained

Firefighters have worked tirelessly overnight to contain a massive blaze at a recycling plant in Matatoki, near Thames, but say it could take at least a day to fully extinguish.

Four fire trucks and about 20 firefighters from Rotorua, Hamilton and Tauraunga are working to fully put out multiple blazes at the plant on Paeroa Kopu Road.

The initial fire broke out about 9.20pm last night, and has engulfed piles of timber, wood chips and sawdust, as well as plastic waste.

Strong winds blew hot embers across the site, resulting in several spot fires.

Fire and Emergency’s area commander for Eastern Waikato, Aaron Waterreus, says three industrial buildings on the site were lost in the fire, and some vehicles were damaged.

Mr Waterreus says more than 20 trucks and multiple volunteer crews responded to the fire.

"Our crews were arriving to a rapidly developing fire and they were dealing with strong winds, which was especially challenging," he says.

"Our volunteers are absolutely shattered after a long night, and so have been swapped out with crews from other areas. We’re so grateful for their efforts, working in such trying conditions all night and many of them have still had to go to their other jobs today."

The remaining firefighters are expected to continue their efforts through the rest of the day.

He says it’s too soon to say what caused the blaze.


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