The owners of a tofu factory in South Auckland could only watch helplessly as their business was engulfed in flames and thick smoke yesterday afternoon.
"It's really bad inside, the ceiling's dropped right down. It's lucky that no was trapped," said Mrs Lo, who didn't want her first name used.
Mrs Lo said she and her husband were in the upstairs office of the Best Food Fresh Tofu factory when smoke started to fill the building, where six other staff were working.
"We ran down the stairs and the alarm was going. We told everyone to get out and everyone was safe."
Mr and Mrs Lo were treated by St John Ambulance staff for smoke inhalation outside the factory on Elliot St, Papakura, as a precaution.
The inside of the building was gutted in the blaze and Mrs Lo said the couple had no idea what they were going to do next.
More than 80 firefighters from across Auckland were called to the blaze, which started shortly after 1pm.
The area fire commander for Counties Manukau, Kerry Gregory, said the cause was a suspected electrical fault.
A funeral director at nearby Fountains Funeral Directors, Josh Kimberly, said staff wore masks normally used when embalming bodies because toxic-smelling smoke was wafting into the business.
- additional reporting: NZPA