Report reveals cause of Mankau structure that caught fire was ‘undetermined’

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The cause of the fire that started at a structure north of Manakau Road on 18 August was deemed unknown in a document revealed to thisquality on 10 Sept under the Official Information Act.

On the same day at around the same time, a workplace blaze occurred in Palmerston North injuring one. NZ Fire crews from Otaki, Waikanae and Te Horo were alerted, some were heading to the Palmerston North fire and were unfortunately turned around after getting an alert at around 2:09 pm to another fire.

The alert was sent as a ‘2nd alarm’ for Wellington and Manawatu regions.


The property that the fire started on was not occupied at the time of the incident. The location of the fire was in a Garage/Storage Shed.

An action taken by fire crew was to extinguish, isolating fuel if any and power to any sources that the fire could affect. One hose was used as the document states to eradicate the flames.

The fire on the arrival was spreading to a nearby carport and trees, a power pole was burning freely, and the roof of the Garage/Storage Shed was collapsed completely. One fire was contained and set the fire back from spreading further, crews on the scene removed sheets of iron to further get at the fire.

The left-hand side of the Garage/Storage Shed was utterly burnt out, leaving ‘no timber’ that was attached to the iron. The right-hand side was still in-tact and held together by the timber framing.

When the fire was fully extinguished, the area was taped off, and a sign was placed on the building restricting access due to certain risks from the fire the damage.

As the document states, the heat source of where the fire potentially started said the indicated cause was ‘undetermined.’ 

The method exposure investigation consisted of distance exposure, surface material on an exterior wall, construction material on the roof and a method of heat transfer.

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