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Coromandel fire destroys 24 buildings

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 17/01/2017

About 24 homes and outbuildings are believed to have been destroyed by the fire now under control in the Coromandel Peninsula, south of Whitianga.

This includes extensive damage to the Wilderland Community commune and 100ha of burnt bushland, the Thames-Coromandel District Council says.

With fire crews containing the blaze and now working to dampen hot spots, Mayor Sandra Goudie thanked the teams and volunteers who came from outside the district to help.

She said the council was assessing how it could help the Comers Road and Wilderland residents affected by the fire.

Earlier on Wednesday, a mayoral fund was set up to raise money, while a former Wilderland resident has also set up a page to help the commune.

Earlier, fire crews were called to the commune, which promotes sustainable living, just after 5pm on Tuesday with 26 residents subsequently evacuated without injury.

Rural fire officer Paul Shaw said crews saved more homes than they lost.

"But I feel very sorry for everyone from that community... there's not much left," he said.

Helicopters and crews fighting the blaze had been forced to retreat at sundown on Tuesday, but three choppers had resumed the the attack at first light on Wednesday.

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