24 Oct 2019

SkyCity fire day three: What you need to know today

9:08 am on 24 October 2019

Firefighters are hopeful the fire at SkyCity will be put out today, but say it will be a very difficult task.

The fire at the New Zealand International Convention Centre has been burning since Tuesday afternoon.

Firefighters have been putting out hotspots from above, and the roof is almost burned through, which is what firefighters wanted to happen.

Fire incident controller Richard Toomey said the fire is not as intense as it has been over the past few days.

But people were still being warned to work from home if they can.

The latest

How are firefighters tackling the blaze today?

Fire and Emergency says most of the roof has burned through but there is still a pocket that is causing trouble.

Auckland City area commander Richard Twomey said it's still too dangerous to put firefighters onto the roof or inside the building to fight the blaze.

He said a commercial crane has been brought in to help firefighters remove loose pieces of iron on the building.

About 20 percent of the building's roof remains and the flames are still being blasted with water from above.

The International Convention Centre's lower basement carpark has been flooded with water but no cars have been affected.

Mr Twomey said they're trying to pump out the water from the basement so that it doesn't reach the upper level where there are cars parked.

Are there still road closures?

Roads remain closed around the fire by the SkyCity convention centre in Auckland.

Auckland Transport says parts of Wellesley St, Nelson Street, and Hobson and Federal Street, remain closed.

It's asking people to avoid the area, or expect to be diverted or delayed.

Some bus services are being re-routed and bus stops closed.

Are businesses still closed?

Auckland CBD has been eerily deserted for the past two days, with most businesses having shut up shop because of the fire.

The SkyCity complex will remain closed today.

And Auckland Mayor Phil Goff told First Up some other buildings may also remain closed and people should watch for announcements and check with their employers.

Is the smoke from the fire toxic?

Auckland public health authorities say they are still waiting for test results to see how toxic the smoke is from the SkyCity fire.

A steady stream of acrid smoke from the International Convention Centre caused air pollution to spike yesterday.

For those with children attending early learning services in the central city, the advice remains to keep them at home.

ARPHS Medical Officer of Health Dr Denise Barnfather said the advice to the public is to keep out of smoke if they can.

She said face masks won't be able to keep out fine particles of air pollution but covering the nose and mouth will stop larger particles.

Fifty-one people called the Healthline number concerned about the impact the convention centre fire could be having on their health.

The free 0800 number (0800 611 11) is being promoted by government agencies for anyone feeling unwell as a result of the smoke still billowing out of the building.

Will future events in the city be affected?

SkyCity chief executive Graeme Stephens said he hopes the hotel component of the International Convention Centre will be opened before the America's Cup.

Both the America's Cup and the APEC leadership summit will be hosted in Auckland in 2021.

Yesterday Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said APEC will definitely still go ahead.

And Mr Stephens said the centre should be able to provide accommodation for the thousands of people who will travel to the city to attend both events.