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27 Aug 2014 22:50
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  •   Home > News > Accident and Emergency

    Crews still battling storage building fire

    A blaze at a storage unit in Wellington appears to have destroyed the upper floor but the ground floor seems to have escaped with water and smoke damage.

    Wellington Airport
    Wellington Airport

    About 30 firefighters are still battling to extinguish a fire which engulfed a Wellington storage complex.

    The blaze has damaged the upper floor of the Kiwi Self Storage depot in suburban Kilbirnie and among the items feared lost are two Oscars and some Baftas being stored by US special effects photographer Alex Funke.

    Firefighters are making their way through the building unit by unit.

    Fire Service assistant area commander Paul Smith says once this work has been done, crews will turn their attention to dampening down hot spots.

    It's expected this work will take them into Saturday morning.

    A digger was brought it on Friday afternoon to pull off parts of the roof and a side wall to cool down the fire and allow firefighters to direct foam inside.

    Mr Smith said the blaze seems to have destroyed the upper floor but the ground floor escaped with only water and smoke damage.

    Mr Smith said the building did not have sprinklers.

    Mr Funke, who was on the team that won two Oscars for visual effects on Sir Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, feared two Oscar awards and "some Baftas" as well as all his camera equipment may have been lost.

    "It's very upsetting, you put stuff in a storeroom and you say 'Well, it's safe, nobody's going to steal it, it's never going to burn down'," he told media at the scene.

    Mr Funke believed the Academy would be able to replace the Oscars.

    One firefighter suffered mild heat stress fighting the fire and was now resting at home.

    Local residents have been urged to close their windows because of the thick smoke from the blaze.

    Smoke blown over Kilbirnie, Rongotai and Lyall Bay did not disrupt flights in and out of nearby Wellington Airport, but the fire did affect Intercity buses unable to get out of their depot at the end of Rongotai Road.

    © 2014 NZN, NZCity

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