Fireman dies after New Zealand factory explosion

April 6th, 2008 - 7:36 am ICT by admin  

Wellington, April 6 (DPA) A firefighter was killed and six injured when a refrigerated warehouse packed with cheese exploded as they responded to an automatic alarm Saturday near Hamilton on New Zealand’s North Island. Six firefighters remained hospitalised in serious condition Sunday as colleagues called in from other regions continued to monitor the blazing plant at Tamahere, about 10 km south of Hamilton.

Chief fire officer Roy Breeze told Radio New Zealand that the dead firefighter, Derek Lovell, took much of the force of the blast as he led a team into the building to investigate the alarm after they arrived to find no sign of a fire.

The blast was thought to have been caused by several liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) canisters exploding in refrigerators at the Icepak Coolstores, the Sunday Star Times reported.

Residents reported that a series of explosions blew out some of their windows, and hundreds of people at a school fundraiser and a wedding party nearby escaped injury.

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