Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Building ablaze in central Christchurch

Fire crews are still battling a large blaze in central Christchurch this evening.

Large plumes of black smoke can be seen across the city.

Video footage being uploaded to social media by members of the public shows big flames coming from what appears to be a large warehouse or factory building.

The area is of the old Sol Square in central Christchurch.

Firefighters can be seen around the building, as several fire crews and police cars line the street immediately outside.

A witness, Alex, was walking down the street when he spotted flames.

"I was Pokemon-hunting when I actually saw the flames...[and] saw the smoke. I turned the corner and that's when I noticed that [the flames] were all kind of bursting up through skylight windows, so it must have obviously been building up quite big inside.

"It was bursting out the sky-lights and then starting to catch fire on the bigger building next-door to it.''

Lichfield and Tuam streets have been closed between Colombo and Manchester streets, Transport for Christchurch says.

A spokeswoman for St John confirmed they received a call to assist about 5.15pm.

The blaze has now been categorised as a third alarm.

A spokeswoman for the southern fire communications said they were dealing with "an event'' and could not take any calls at the moment as a result.

Authorities are telling motorists to avoid the central city.

"Motorists are recommended to use Moorhouse Ave as an [alternative] to Tuam St and Lichfield St."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf04 at 27 Apr 2017 08:39:24 Processing Time: 788ms