A suspicious fire that destroyed a grain processing plant in Gisborne, New Zealand, on Thursday is currently under investigation. The fire broke out just after 7 p.m. and was well-involved by the time firefighters arrived on the scene. The blaze, which destroyed the milling section of the plant, has left the 11 employees of the plant without work.
The cause of the fire is currently unknown, and police have placed a guard at the site. Fire and Emergency senior station officer Jason Higgins has said that the plant is being treated as a crime scene and will be investigated by fire investigators.
Just like that food factories started to burn down in #NewZealand The Corson Grain Mill is on fire tonight…
"Residents in Gisborne were being evacuated from their homes after a grain processing building caught fire".
"Corson Grain Mill on Cochrane Street, Elgin, at 7pm #nzpol pic.twitter.com/CrlTKAEA1n
— WildandFree17 (@Wildnfree1984) March 2, 2023
The fire in Gisborne comes after Cyclone Gabrielle hit the region hard, leaving crops decimated and residents struggling to get in and out of the area. Witness Catherine Rogers, who lives across the road from the plant, said her family was evacuated for around 30 to 45 minutes so “if there was any smoke or anything, that we weren’t going to get caught up in it.”
The fire at the grain processing plant underscores the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to intentional or unintentional damage. As investigations into the cause of the fire continue, it is imperative that steps are taken to secure critical infrastructure to ensure the safety and security of communities that rely on it.
The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of ensuring the resilience of critical infrastructure in the face of natural disasters or other events that may compromise their integrity.
The New Zealand fire also resembles a string of fires analyzed last year by the Epoch Times, with many people wondering on social media whether they may have been intentional attacks on critical food infrastructure. However, the locations of the fires spanned a wide range of industries, and the majority were not high-value targets that could seriously impact the food supply chain. Causes for many of the incidents included faulty equipment, operator errors, or basic negligence.
While the cause of the fire in Gisborne remains unknown, it is being treated as a crime scene, and investigators will be looking into whether it was intentional or accidental.