Electric motor blamed for sawmill fire

By Carly Udy

Four fire appliances attended Pukepine Sawmills yesterday after a blaze started in a shavings hopper causing up to $20,000 in damage.
The fire, on Te Puke's Jellicoe St, broke out at 1.34pm and the fire service received multiple calls from the public.
Four breathing apparatus crews from Te Puke, Maketu and Mount Maunganui, battled the fire for three hours.
Managing director of Pukepine Sawmills, Ken Tanner, said the fire had started in a shavings bin, which was in a separate building next to the planer shed.
Production from the planer shed will be halted for about three days while a 100-horsepower electric motor, which drives the extraction fan, is replaced.
New fan bearings and wiring are also needed.
After the fire was put out, a front loader removed smouldering wood chippings.
Mr Tanner said as soon as staff saw the fire, they immediately shut down the machine and tried to control the flames with what fire equipment they had.
Firefighters arrived shortly after.
"It's a nuisance," Mr Tanner said. "It will disrupt some production and some customers but at least it's not three weeks," he said.
Staff would continue working but some would be deployed to other tasks for the next three days.
The company was likely to foot the bill themselves as their excess was more than $20,000, Mr Tanner said.
Read more in today's bay of Plenty Times

- Bay of Plenty Times

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