Pollution experts will be at a badly damaged South Island honey fatory today to deal with sticky residue left in the water used to fight last night's destructive fire.

Nearly three dozen firefighters battled the spectacular three-hour blaze at the Airborne Honey Farm in Leeston, south of Christchurch last night.

Police today said the fire was not suspicious.

Neighbours of the large manufacturing plant reported hearing loud explosions as fire raced through the large storage building.


Fire Service southern communications shift manager Andrew Norris said the blaze broke out in a workshop used to store bulk honey about 10.15pm.

The building suffered extensive damage in the blaze. At one point it threatened to spread to a neighbouring home.

Norris said this morning pollution experts from Environment Canterbury would work out how to best clean up the sticky problem.

"The water run-off from firefighting operations is contaminated with honey. ECan will be working with the Selwyn District Council to see what they can do about removing that water," he said.

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Firefighters had earlier blocked drains to prevent the sticky run-off from getting into creeks and waterways near the Airborne property.

Fire investigators would also be working to determine what caused the blaze.

Norris said no one was in the large storage building when fire broke out.

Leeston man Warren Firth posted a picture on Facebook of the intense flames and plumes of smoke that could be seen from his backyard.

He wrote that there was a huge bang similar to an earthquake before he went outside to see the factory fire lighting up the night sky.