Two charged with arson after West Auckland supermarket chip aisle erupts in flames

Two men have been charged with arson after fire broke out in the chip aisle of a West Auckland supermarket.

After what was later described as a possible TikTok prank gone wrong, 60 firefighters were sent to the blaze at Countdown in WestCity mall, Henderson.

A 19 year-old from Weymouth in South Auckland and a man aged 20 from West Auckland’s Oratia have now been charged with arson.

The charge, of intentionally damaging property knowing that danger to life would likely ensue, carried a maximum 14-year jail term.

They are both also scheduled to appear at Waitākere District Court this Thursday.

The fire broke out last Thursday, May 6.

Customers were evacuated from the mall in Henderson after the fire started just before 8.30pm.

“The security went and got the extinguisher and used it. I thought it had gone out but then there was more flames coming up above the shelves,” one eyewitness said.

A Countdown staff member the next day told the Herald about online videos where packets of chips were set alight.

The challenge has appeared on social media app TikTok and has resulted in at least one large supermarket fire in the US already.


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