FIRE crews spent four hours battling a smouldering fire at a factory north of Port Macquarie last night.
The fire at the Nestle factory at Smithtown, 60km north of Port Macquarie, began in a large piece of machinery used for making chocolate shortly before 6pm.
A total of three Fire and Rescue NSW vehicles and a hazardous materials truck (HAZMAT) from Port Macquarie arrived at the factory to control the smoke.
Ten factory employees were evacuated, none of whom required medical treatment.
Mid North Coast Fire and Rescue NSW duty commander Tony Lenthall said while there were no large flames a smouldering fire created a lot of heat and was particularly dangerous.
Mr Lenthall said referred to the fire as a "hopper."
The building was filled with thick smoke but was not damaged.
"The hopper was red hot," Mr Lenthall said.
A total of 14 firefighters used breathing apparatus to bring the fire and smoke under control until 11.30pm.
Read tomorrow's edition of the Port Macquarie News for the full report.