By 3 News online staff
Firefighters have contained a substantial fire at a community centre west of Nelson.
Twelve fire appliances were called to the scene at the Moutere Hills Community Centre, about 35km west of Nelson, after being alerted just after 8am this morning.
While fire services were able to contain the blaze quickly, the centre’s main function area was gutted by the flames.
Local resident Jeannie Gillespie was dropping off her daughter at the venue for a holiday programme when she saw “massive” clouds of smoke.
“I’m just quite gobsmacked really. It’s a huge loss to this community. This community centre is used for everything here,” she told 3 News.
The Moutere Hills Community Centre Board chairman Phillip Leith says while the damage is repairable; it’s still a hit to the community.
“It’ll disrupt some of the functions in the short term,” he says, “but I’m sure we’ll recover and we’ll be able to keep running some of our events here.”
Fire services were first alerted to the blaze by a woman opening the community centre for a holiday programme.
Mr Leith says the building is “extremely well used” by the small community.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is currently underway.