The SkyCity Convention Centre in Auckland is still burning after catching fire yesterday, when a worker’s blowtorch set the roof of the seven storey building alight.
The blaze began about 1:15pm yesterday afternoon (Auckland time), first being spotted by a supervisor overseeing the construction of the brand new convention centre.
Since then, hundreds of firefighters have reportedly pumped 12 million litres of water onto the inferno using high-powered hoses. Toxic black smoke has engulfed the city, causing chaotic traffic and forcing many CBD-based workers to remain home.
In order to save the $700 million dollar building, firefighters have contained the blaze but decided to let the remainder of the roof burn safely—which should take up to 12 hours according to authorities.
“The fire is under control now, we are in a managed situation, we are just sacrificing the roof,” Fire and Emergency Auckland Regional Manager Ron Devlin said.
The brand-new convention centre which was set to open in mid 2020, will now face delays as insurance claims and investigations begin.
SkyCity boss Graeme Stephens said the fire was “absolutely devastating”.
The centre has been delayed previously, when it was found that the aluminium panels being used in the centre were made from the same material that were responsible for London’s Grenfell Tower fire.