A central Kerikeri laundry business has been gutted in an early morning blaze that threatened to spread to an adjacent shop.

Firefighters could not save the interior, contents and equipment of Kerikeri Laundry Services in Cobham Ave yesterday morning but were able to stop it taking the Asian takeaway food shop next door. The alarm was raised at 5am and the first of two Kerikeri volunteer crews to fight the fire was at the scene within seven minutes.

Michelle Poole, the owner of the laundry business, arrived when the fire was being extinguished and was still at the scene two hours later as fire safety officer Craig Bain, from Whangarei, began his investigation. It is expected that information will be available today on the cause of the fire.

An upset Ms Poole said the equipment and premises were fully insured but she had no idea at this stage how long it would take to get the business up and running again, or where that might happen. There was a coin-operated laundromat at the front of the premises with the commercial and industrial service operated at the back. Many local businesses were customers, including the tourism sector.


NZ Fire Service area manager Alan Kerrisk said the initial information when the alarm came in was that the takeaway food shop was on fire but that was not the case. While the laundry business was gutted, the adjacent shop suffered only some "smoke logging", Mr Kerrisk said.

He said crews used "positive pressure ventilation" to create a no-fire zone between the two adjoining premises. Both had combustible products and chemicals on site and firefighters with breathing apparatus stopped the fire reaching the storage area at the back, he said.

Good separation between the shops and the building's construction prevented what might have become a multi-premises fire. Mr Kerrisk said any destructive fire had a major impact on a community and when a business took a big hit it affected many other businesses as well as individuals. The local Fire Service would do whatever it could to help the business owners regain continuity of service, he said.