Moerewa's Affco freezing works is due to partly reopen today after a potentially disastrous fire on Friday night.
Firefighters from Kawakawa, Kaikohe, Paihia and Whangarei fought the blaze which broke out just before 8pm in the administration block's switch room.
Damage was limited to one room thanks to the plant's automated alarm system and the Kawakawa brigade's speedy response. Ironically the Kawakawa Fire Brigade had been at the works little more than an hour earlier to make sure Santa Claus arrived in style at a party the company put on for its 270 staff and more than 300 family members.
Plant manager Christian Prime said the switch room damage had temporarily disabled the plant, but staff were due back at work today when boning would resume and other workers would undergo training. Slaughtering was due to start again on Wednesday.
The majority of staff were seasonal workers who would be paid throughout the temporary shutdown.
It was too early to put a cost of the damage, Mr Prime said.
The freezing works is by far Moerewa's biggest employer and one of the biggest in the Mid North.