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Homes Evacuated After 'Suspicious' Disaster at Grain Processing Plant

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Fire damaged a grain processing building in Gisborne, New Zealand, on Thursday.

Residents living near the Corson Grain Mill were evacuated from their homes but returned later in the day, according to the New Zealand Herald.

The fire was listed as “suspicious,” according to New Zealand’s 1News.

The fire was reported just after 7 p.m. and was “well-involved” when firefighters arrived, a Fire and Emergency New Zealand representative said.

Fire and Emergency senior station officer Jason Higgins said the plant was being “treated as a crime scene.”

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“Could be suspicious, so we’ll have the fire investigator on the scene tomorrow morning,” he said.

Higgins said there was “no obvious cause” for the blaze. A police guard was placed at the fire scene after the flames were extinguished.

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1News reported that the fire destroyed the milling section of the plant, which processes grain to be used in cereal or animal feed and employs 11 people.

Witness Catherine Rogers said she “noticed a big plume of smoke” billowing from the grain silos.

“It was a huge amount of smoke. You could see flames and you could hear popping and things falling and crashing inside the building,” said Rogers, who lives across the road from the plant.

Rogers said her family was evacuated “if there was any smoke or anything, that we weren’t going to get caught up in it.”

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The Gisborne region recently was pummeled by Cyclone Gabrielle.

“It’s so hard with the crops that are decimated and trying to get in and out of Gisborne at the moment,” Rogers said.

“This is just the last thing that we need.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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