More than 20 crews battle 'well involved' commercial building blaze in Tkau

More than 20 fire crews are fighting a massive blaze at a meat by-products processing plant near the Auckland-Waikato boundary.
A Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) spokesperson said they received several calls about the blaze in Lapwood Road in Tkau, about 8.20pm on Tuesday.

There were 18 fire crews on site shortly after 10pm, with the further four trucks dispatched to the third-alarm fire.

At 11pm on Tuesday, the 22 fire crews remained in attendance at Tkau Proteins. All crews were responding from Auckland.

Do you have photos or video of the fire? Send them to us at [email protected]

Ariarne McMillan/Supplied
Orange smoke plumes from the fire at Tkau Proteins, a meat processing plant near the Auckland-Waikato border.

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The FENZ spokesperson said the fire was well involved when crews arrived, and they were still working to get the blaze under control.

There were no reports of anyone inside the building at the time the fire started, and no injuries reported.

Tku local Genevre Stenklev-Gussey said she heard "explosions and cracking" coming from the Tkau plant at around 8.30pm.

From her home on Geraghtys Rd she could see the flames engulfing the nearby buildings, and plumes of smoke billowed into the sky.

Twenty-two fire crews have been called to a commercial building fire in Lapwood Road, Tkau a small street containing a meat processing plant.

"The fire is massive. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole plant is gone," she said.

FENZ said it was too early to know the extent of the damage done to the three-storey building, which measures 200m by 200m.

Two fire investigators were on the scene by late Tuesday night, and were working to determine the cause of the blaze.

Local residents were discussing the fire on community Facebook pages, with many saying theyd made their way down to the plant to have a look.

The FENZ spokesperson said the fire provided a free attraction for people to come down and look at, but the road was closed off, and there had been no issues related to bystanders.

James Baker/Stuff
Tkau Proteins Limited has previously faced prosecutions and non-compliance notices regarding pollution and odour caused by the plant.

Tkau Proteins is well-known in the local area, and has a strained relationship with some residents, due to the odours emitted by the plant.

Last year, the meat processing plant was fined $180,000 for polluting the Waikato River and discharging the offensive odours, during the 2019 Christmas period.

The odour was described as death mixed with a septic tank by neighbouring residents.

In the sentence handed down in the Auckland District Court last year, Judge Melanie Harland described the companys actions as reckless offending [which] had a significant and profound effect on the community nearby, in some cases causing people to be physically sick.

The Waikato Regional Council is currently considering an application for a new resource consent, which would allow the plant to discharge odour to air from the site as long as that discharge does not result in objectionable odour beyond the boundary of the site that adversely affects neighbours.

The plants manager and the companys owner were not able to be contacted on Tuesday night.


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