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THE fire that destroyed a large packhouse and storage shed on a Waerenga-a-Hika property on Friday night started in a small office inside the building and spread rapidly.

Half a dozen fire crews fought the blaze alongside State Highway 2 opposite Kaiaponi Farms.

The building could not be saved. It was fully involved when the first crew arrived.

“The exact cause remains undetermined at this stage but I should be in a position to point to a cause within a few days,” said specialist fire investigator Derek Goodwin, who was called in to conduct an inquiry.

“It started in a small office inside the building and as the fire developed it managed to get hold of some combustibles like apple box trays, and took off from there.”

Mr Goodwin said it developed quickly into a full-scale third alarm fire, which the fire crews had to call for further resources to fight it.

“The building covered an area of around 200 square metres. It was a packhouse and warehouse, and also contained a workshop.

“The grading and packing facilities in it, along with the contents of the workshop, were destroyed, along with the shed.”

The blaze broke out at around 6.30pm. Fire crews used water from a neighbouring orchard to battle it.

“They did really well to save the house that was very close to the burning building.”

Crews remained at the scene most of Friday night, dampening down the remains of the shed.

A large packhouse/storage shed on a property alongside State Highway 2 at Waerenga-a-Hika goes up in flames on Friday night. The blaze started in a small office inside the building and spread quickly. Picture supplied