The cause of a fire in Rotorua's CBD that closed Lakes Primecare and the neighbouring pharmacy, forcing staff and members of the public to be evacuated, is likely to be an electrical fault.
Tutanekai St, between Haupapa and Arawa Sts, was closed today after fire broke out about 2.20pm in the TRG Imaging building, next to Lakes Primecare.
Rotorua Fire Brigade senior station officer Jim Prescott said the initial assessment was the fire was caused by an electrical fault but it was still being investigated.
He said there was extensive smoke damage particularly in the suite where x-rays were done.
A Fire Communications spokesman said off-duty Rotorua firefighters came back to help and a truck from the Ngongotaha Fire Brigade responded.
Lakes Primecare director Dr Mike Tustin said, when the alarm went off, staff got everyone out of the building quickly. He said the medical centre was "not hugely busy" at the time.
"We came outside and there was not much to see initially. I did a circuit of the building and couldn't see anything."
Then he noticed an "acrid smell" in the air.
Smoke started billowing out of the ceiling above TRG Imaging, he said.
He said firefighters were there in about a minute and a half and put the fire out quickly.
"They were amazing."
He said Lakes Primecare and the pharmacy were open at the time while one staff member was working upstairs in the RAPHS offices, which take up the second floor of the building.
No one was inside TRG Imaging.
Dr Tustin said Lakes Primecare was closed for the remainder of today.
A nurse had taken one patient to Rotorua Hospital for treatment, but no others were affected.
He said they were waiting for the results of the fire investigation before they knew if they could open tomorrow.
The centre's IT manager had been called to the scene, as the servers for all Rotorua medical practices were stored on the building's second floor, he said.
However he was hopeful there would be no issues for local GPs tomorrow.
TRG Imaging manager Debbie Cartwright was anxiously waiting outside, after she was called by a friend who saw the fire engines outside the clinic.
She did not know the extent of the damage inside, but was preparing for the worst. About 30 to 40 patients booked in for tomorrow were being contacted to reschedule appointments.
She said luckily they did have another practice around the corner so some patients would be able to be seen there.
A post on Lakes Care Pharmacy's Facebook page said for the first time in 20 years the pharmacy had to close temporarily due to the fire. The Facebook post said it was hoped they would be open again tomorrow.