‘Pretty devastating’ fire destroys major Tokoroa engineering company

The charred remains are all that remains of the building that launched Bruce Martin’s engineering career in the Waikato.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand was alerted to a Holster Engineering fire, on Chambers St, Tokoroa, at 5.30pm on Thursday.

With 12 fire engines – including a dangerous command control vehicle from Rotorua – dispatched, it took crews five hours to douse the flames.

Company owner Bruce Martin said Things it was “pretty devastating” and a sad end for the prominent building.

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The aftermath of a fire that ravaged Holster Engineering of Tokoroa.

Matthew Martin / Stuff

The aftermath of a fire that ravaged Holster Engineering of Tokoroa.

As the first on the scene, Martin already saw going out of the building and continuing to grow.

“There’s only native wood in the building, so it kept burning. The fire was there until 11 p.m.

The fire completely destroyed the company’s offices, smokehouse, steel stores and welding shop across the road.

The building is one of three large structures that make up the engineering firm’s site. The other two buildings were not damaged.

Bruce Martin started at Holster Engineering at age 15, kicked out of school, and is now part owner of the Tokoroa business.

LUKE KIRKEBY/Stuff

Bruce Martin started at Holster Engineering at age 15, kicked out of school, and is now part owner of the Tokoroa business.

A fire investigator at the scene on Friday said it would take a few more days to complete his investigation, but early thoughts were that the fire was not suspicious.

Martin, who began his apprenticeship as a fitter and turner with the company aged 15, said the fire had caused severe disruption to his business, particularly in terms of replacement machinery which was already hard to find.

As long as the building was insured, it would take a long time to get that part of the business up and running again.

The fire completely destroyed the company's offices, smokehouse, steel stores and welding shop across the road.

Matthew Martin / Stuff

The fire completely destroyed the company’s offices, smokehouse, steel stores and welding shop across the road.

“There’s a lot of equipment that’s been put in there, phones, our computer systems, two welding stations and the rest, it’s pretty devastating.

“The firefighters did a wonderful job and I want to thank them for their efforts as I know they have been very busy.”

The Tokoroa community has since rallied around him, with his staff and the company offering their support.

“People have already given us a lot of gear to help us through this ordeal and that’s been great.”

Holster Engineering primarily focuses on servicing the paper and pulp and hydro sectors and is an industry leader in New Zealand.

Matthew Martin / Stuff

Holster Engineering primarily focuses on servicing the paper and pulp and hydro sectors and is an industry leader in New Zealand.

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