The fire which destroyed a Bay of Islands auto workshop yesterday was most likely caused by an electrical fault, an investigator says.

Firefighters were called to the blaze, at R&S Auto Service Centre on Puketona Rd, near Haruru Falls, about 1.40am on Monday.

When the first fire crew arrived from Paihia, flames were shooting from the skylights of the three-bay steel building and the roller doors were glowing red hot.

Senior station officer Michael Fayne, of Paihia Fire Brigade, said firefighters concentrated on saving another workshop and garage in an adjoining shed.

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Two fire crews each from Paihia, Kerikeri and Kawakawa responded along with an extra tanker.

With no reticulated water supply in the area, water was pumped from tanks at a nearby house and shuttled from a hydrant at Haruru Falls, Fayne said.

The building was still standing yesterday morning but the roller doors had collapsed and the charred wreckage of four cars could be seen inside.

A fire investigator and a police detective try to establish the cause of the fire that razed an automotive workshop at Haruru Falls. Photo / Peter de Graaf
A fire investigator and a police detective try to establish the cause of the fire that razed an automotive workshop at Haruru Falls. Photo / Peter de Graaf

Police stayed at the scene overnight until a fire investigator arrived about 9.30am.

It is understood the owners of the auto service centre were away for the weekend at a wedding. They had been informed of the blaze and were on their way home yesterday.

Fire safety officer Craig Bain said the blaze was most likely due to an electrical fault, possibly in a computer or battery charger.

''The brigades that attended did a bloody mighty job stopping the fire spreading to other buildings,'' he said.

The volunteer fire crews saved an adjoining shed and even a glasshouse next to the razed workshop was undamaged.

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If electrical appliances had to be left on, he recommended keeping them free of dust and away from combustibles such as paper.

Access to water was not an issue in this case but he urged anyone living in an area without a town supply to make sure firefighters had easy access to tanks or open water.

The alarm was raised by neighbours on Puketona Rd. The business owners could not be contacted yesterday.