Locals have been urged to stay indoors as asbestos has been found in a building engulfed in fire in Motueka.
Emergency services are at King Edward St after reports of a building on fire shortly before 4.30am.
Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman Ian Littlejohn said up to 14 fire trucks and support vehicles, including a command unit, are at the site. There are no reports of injuries at this stage.
At 8.30am, crews were still on scene dampening the site down and mopping up.
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Asbestos was found in the building and a lot of smoke has been drifting around the area, a spokesperson said.
People in the immediate area are asked to stay indoors, away from the smoke with their windows and doors closed.
Carlisa Limmer told the Herald she was woken by popping and banging noises around 4.30am and could see a glow through her curtains.
"I got a huge fright, thinking it was my neighbour's house on fire."
Another local, Simon Walton, said he was woken up by "popping trees" that sounded like gunfire about 4.15am.
"Seemed to take a long time before hearing first sirens, even though there are fire stations in town and all the small towns around and maybe at the airport."
Walton said the fire would be visible from all over town.