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Forestry machine catches fire

AN excavator being used on a logging site inland from Wairoa caught fire and was extensively damaged yesterday morning, but the operator escaped injury.

The Wairoa volunteer fire brigade was called to the site on Riverina Station, just after 9.30am yesterday.

“The machine operator noticed smoke coming from the machine’s engine compartment and got off the vehicle to have a look,” said Wairoa deputy chief fire officer Barry Gasson.

“He saw it was unsafe to carry on and immediately called 111.”

The excavator was working about 150 metres away from where the rest of the logging crew were operating.”

Deputy chief Gasson said the machine was fully on fire when they arrived.

“The excavator was in flames when we got there. We ran hose lines up to it and were able to put the fire out reasonably quickly.”

He said the 20-tonne machine was extensively damaged.

“There was no indication how the fire got started. The driver was OK though. He got off the machine in time and was never in any danger.”

Mr Gasson said there was no risk to the nearby forest.

EXTENSIVE DAMAGE: A digger being used on a forestry site inland from Wairoa was badly damaged in a fire yesterday morning. A spokesman for the Wairoa fire brigade said there was no indication at this stage of how the fire started. The operator escaped without injury. Picture supplied