No toxic chemicals were involved in the major fire at the Ravensdown fertiliser plant in Christchurch, fire chief says.
Said assistant area commander for Christchurch metro Steve Kennedy:”The black smoke which could be see across most of the city was from rubber in a conveyor belt.”
The fire started at about 10.15am in a storage area of the Main South Rd, Hornby, Ravensdown plant.
“No chemicals were involved in the fire,” said Mr Kennedy.
Earlier, people living and working near the blazing plant in Christchurch were being told to close their windows and turn off their air conditioning systems.
More than 40 firefighters fought the blaze.
“They contained the fire very well. They stopped it spreading into the sulphur store,” said Mr Kennedy.
A Ravensdown staff member earlier told Star.kiwi they were evacuated and told to stay away from the area.
He said “it is not the safest to be breathing in.”
“There were no reported injuries,” said Mr Kennedy.
Earlier witness Marc Duff told Star.kiwi he saw smoke coming from the building at about 10.15am.
The fire was travelling from east to west across the building, he said.
Mr Duff said there were no explosions.
“It’s like a war zone, there are so many sirens.”
A Fire and Emergency New Zealand command post was set up on the Main South Rd entrance lawn.
Firefighters with breathing apparatus entered the building and used cutting equipment.
Police closed the section of Main South Rd between Carmen Rd and Springs Rd.
People have been urged to avoid the area.
Nearby Repco Hornby store assistant Scott McKee said: “We had to close our doors and windows because of the smoke.”