'Bit of excitement' for man in managed isolation woken by smoke from nearby South Auckland fire

A Wellington man in managed isolation in Auckland woke to the smell of smoke this morning as a large fire nearby tore through a car storage facility.

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Finn Howell says he woke to the smell of smoke early Thursday morning. Source: Supplied

About 10 motor homes were damaged in the blaze at Tourism Holdings car storage. The building was substantially damaged.

The blaze started about 5am, but no one was injured.

Nearby in a Covid-19 isolation hotel, Finn Howell, 33, told 1 NEWS he woke about 5.40am - he was dozing at the time but knew something wasn't right when he smelt smoke.

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The early morning fire is believed to have caused millions of dollars in damage. Source: 1 NEWS

"I called reception who informed me it was the building next door and there was nothing to worry about," he told 1 NEWS.

"It was a bit of excitement, something different than this room."

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Multiple firefighters are battling the blaze in Mangere. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Howell has been staying alone at the Holiday Inn Auckland Airport isolation facility for about a week.

He said he'd been passing time in isolation by editing videos and hadn't yet felt bored yet, although this morning was a "broken routine" due to the excitement of the fire.

However, there was no need for guests to evacuate the facility this morning, and Mr Howell said he felt safe since returnees were given a health and safety briefing when they arrived at the accommodation.

"Isolation in this hotel has been so so good. I talked to the manager the other day and said he'd have trouble getting me out.

"It's been really, really good. The Government is really looking after returnees."

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Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s Richard Twomey spoke to 1 NEWS from the scene. Source: Breakfast

Mr Howell returned from Mexico where he'd been living for six months. He was meant to be living there for over a year but when the pandemic intensified he made the decision to return home.

"It was sad," he said. "It was very different to what it was supposed to be given it was meant to be for more than a year.

"It was a difficult but sensible decision [to come home]."

Mr Howell has tested negative for Covid-19 on day three of his stay and said he felt in good health.

He is expected to return to Wellington on September 10, then plans to stay in New Zealand and start a business restoring furniture. He also plans to travel New Zealand in a campervan and would consider finishing his Mexico experience in years to come.

A large fire in Mangere. Source: 1 NEWS