Fire severely damaged a building at a large nursery on Fairdown Straight, a few kilometres north of Westport, about last night.

Firefighters from Westport and Waimangaroa fought the blaze, which also destroyed two tractors and some equipment inside the building.

Fire chief Pat O'Dea said surrounding tunnel houses almost caught fire and their sides were melting, but firefighters managed to save them. They then ensured the rest of the complex was made safe.

"What was lost was the least that could have been expected given the circumstances," said Mr O'Dea.


Three fire trucks attended, two from Westport and one from Waimangaroa.

Waimangaroa attended because of the restricted water supplies in the area. A water tanker from Granity was also called out but was returned to the station as Westport and Waimangaroa staff had the fire under control.

Initially, firefighters were concerned there could be chemicals in the building, but there weren't, Mr O'Dea said.

Burning plastics caused black smoke and firefighters had to use breathing apparatus.

Fire safety officers were investigating the cause of the fire.

- Westport News