Car trouble ignited into a fully fledged fire, blocking SH2 and spreading to a nearby shed, after a parked vehicle dramatically burst into flames outside a Hawke's Bay winery yesterday.
Ahuriri resident Barry Rollinson was cycling along the highway with his wife when they came across what he thought was just another broken-down car outside Crab Farm Winery, near Bay View about 1pm. "When we first came across it I thought someone had just blown a radiator or something and there was what looked like a bit of steam coming from the bonnet."
He said the car was parked inside a shed on the edge of the road. "We could smell a bit of burning and the smoke got thicker and thicker. Then all of a sudden flames just started pouring out from everywhere, underneath the car ... Even the tyres were on fire."
The blaze quickly engulfed the shed forcing Mr Rollinson and his wife to flee to the other side of the road "in case the petrol tank blew up".
"A police car turned up and we flagged him down, it was quite dramatic really.
"He had a fire extinguisher and he gave it a go but by then the flames were just too big."
He said police cordoned off the road as the thick black smoke drifted across the road.
"The carport was well and truly alight by then too and the [car] windows started popping, I think the firefighters got there just in time before it reached the fuel tank.
"It seemed like quite an old car, about 20 years, there was no way any of us could have put it out."
The Bay View volunteer fire brigade attended the blaze.
A New Zealand Fire Service spokeswoman said yesterday's incident was nothing more than "a little bit of smoke coming from a car" and was "left in the hands of the owner".
Crab Farm Winery could not be contacted for comment by Hawke's Bay Today last night.