Cars damaged, basement flooded as convention centre fire continues to smoulder

The fire at SkyCity's convention centre is largely doused, and there are hopes parts of its wider operation will be back in business later today.

Roads in central Auckland remain blocked off as fire crews continue their work. 

See below for our updates from day three of the fire.

1.19pm: Here's NIWA's latest time lapse of the site.

A drone sent up by firefighters surveys the situation while battling the SkyCity NZ International Convention Centre fire. Source: Luke Appleby/1 NEWS

12.53: Fletcher Building has expressed its gratitude to the Fire and Emergency teams following news the convention centre fire was under control earlier this morning. 

In a statement, CEO Ross Taylor said, "The news is extremely welcome and on behalf of Fletcher Building I want to extend our sincere gratitude to the Fire and Emergency teams for their bravery and long hours of work in battling the fire and ensuring the safety of everyone in the Auckland city centre."

Fire services will remain on-site until the blaze has been extinguished and it is safe to re-enter.

"Once the site is handed back to us, investigations can begin to determine the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage." 

The investigation, which will include fire and emergency services, SkyCity, regulators and insurers, is expected to take several months to complete.

SkyCity will be opening the Auckland precinct in phases starting later today, SkyCity Group said in a statement, with normal business operations expected to resume Friday.

"This includes the Sky Tower, the casino (including VIP and main gaming floor), SkyCity Hotel, SkyCity Grand Hotel, car park and restaurants," they said. "SkyCity’s corporate offices will reopen on Tuesday 29th October."

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Nearly 48 hours after it started, Fire and Emergency NZ area commander Richard Twomey says the job isn’t done yet. Source: 1 NEWS

11.37: "We can confirm only cars on level B4 in the NZICC car park have been affected by water damage, despite efforts to pump water out," SkyCity said on Twitter. 

"Cars parked on level B4 belong to SkyCity employees and we estimate this to be less than 100 vehicles.

"We are committed to covering costs that are a result of water damage, employees will be fully compensated for damage to their vehicles."

10.56: The fire is smouldering, with the wind causing the occasional flare-up.

Several layers of the basement has been flooded, Fire and Emergency New Zealand said in a tweet.

"We are working with @AucklandsPort and Fletcher Construction to remove the water in the basement and with the Auckland Council about where to dispose of it."

10.28: There are fears water from the flooded basement, which is up to the windows, will continue rising, area commander Richard Twomey said.  

A total of four people have been treated by St John in relation to the fire, all of whom suffered minor injuries.

Two people have been treated by St John today, including one person who was treated on the scene overnight. Both injuries were not related to falling debris, St John said.

Fire services had to rely on material inside the roof to burn out and drop through in order to access it. 

10.01:Firefighters are working to extinguish hotspots, largely around the Hobson Street area, area commander Richard Twomey said.

The fire got under control at around 6.30-7am this morning.

It's expected to continue smouldering all through the night, he said. Part of the basement carpark has been flooded. Firefighters will work with the local council on its removal. The water is covering cars, he said.

The fire has not been extinguished, Auckland Civil Defence said on Twitter, contradicting Auckland mayor Phil Goff's earlier tweet.

"The fire at NZICC is not extinguished. @FireEmergencyNZ have confirmed the fire has been dampened down significantly and its staff are now working on hotspots within the building," Auckland Civil Defence said.

One person has been transported from the SkyCity convention centre to Auckland Hospital with minor injuries.

The fire is now out, Mr Goff said on Twitter.

8.18: Donations of food have been pouring in from members of the public.

"We had pizzas and food like you couldn't move," one person working in a food station said. "It was so much food. Very, very generous - it was amazing."

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“It was amazing,” one firefighter told Breakfast’s John Campbell of the number of strangers turning up with food. Source: Breakfast

8.04: Officials say there is still a lot of work ahead, though significant progress has been made since this morning. 

A large duct has been smashed out in order for firefighters to eventually reclaim the building, as well as to target hotspots.

Firefighters are feeling "very comfortable" nearly 36 hours after the fire first began. 

Road closures along Hobson Street, Nelson Street and Victoria Street West could remain in place for a number of days.

Mr Goff said it is unlikely that the convention centre will be ready in time for APEC in late 2021. 

The Prime Minister said APEC will still be hosted in Auckland, however. 

Around 80 firefighters remained on site overnight. "There’s the odd plume of smoke and the odd flame, but they’re really on top of it and their strategy has worked," Mr Goff said.

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Firefighter had hoped to have the blaze under control by 8pm yesterday. However, it’s still burning. Source: Breakfast

"I’m imagining this time tomorrow, we will be pretty much back to normal.”

7.17: Auckland mayor Phil Goff said the situation today is "a helluva lot better than yesterday".

"I was here this time yesterday morning and you couldn't see 50 metres down that road for the smoke."

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“They’re really on top of it and their strategy has worked,” the mayor said of firefighters who have been battling the inferno since Tuesday. Source: Breakfast

7.08: "The roof is not burning like a roof would burn because it is a whole element of structure," Mr Devlin said. "There are so many parts to the roof ... and the fire has been burning its way through it."

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One volunteer told the Breakfast host she now has a day job to go to. Another is there with her husband, also a firefighter. Source: Breakfast

7.03: "Mop up mode" will include lifting unburnt parts of the roof, Mr Devlin said, adding that there is "a lot of it".

Fire and Emergency New Zealand regional area commander Ron Devlin said the fire is "going very well", adding that there is "a lot less smoke" which is "far more palatable across the city".

Firefighters are now looking to "mop up" over the next few hours as firefighers in a crane look to extinguish fires along the cladding between the front cladding and the roof. Firefighters will then work with Fletchers as they go into recovery mode.

Firefighters remained at the scene overnigt, including several aerial appliances.

Firefighters will be focusing today on containing the fire, grabbing loose iron from inside the building and pumping out water from the basement.

Hobson Street, Nelson Street and Victoria Street West remain closed.

Flames are visible along the eastern side of the building.  A fire chief in charge of the scene says the fire is covering 20 per cent of the roof, with hotspots that firefighters are trying to get under control.

The fire has moved across the convention centre to the east, along Hobson Street side.

None of the roof will be saved to ensure the fire does not spread to other parts of the building, Campbell was told in a briefing this morning. If part of the roof is retained, it will have to be demolished.

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It’s likely a waterproofing substance called bitumen is making the blaze so hard to put out. Source: 1 NEWS

6.15: "There is a sense this is in greater control," Breakfast's John Campbell says of the blaze. "Yesterday was more frantic and frenetic." 

Firefighters, however, are still waiting for the roof to collapse so they go in, Campbell says. 

One new tool is a new crane that has come in. 

"This is going to change the game," Campbell says.

6.05am: "There is a demonstrable difference [in how the fire looks]," says Breakfast host John Campbell, who is stationed outside the convention centre this morning. For the second day, Breakfast is being broadcast from a makeshift studio, as the TVNZ headquarters next door to the blaze remain evacuated. 

6am: The fire at the still-under-construction Auckland convention centre has been "radically reduced" since yesterday, but flames are still clearly visible at the 30-metre-tall structure, says Breakfast reporter Ashleigh Yates. The flames created an orange glow overnight as firefighters battled the blaze. Firefighters had hoped to get the fire under control by 8pm yesterday. 

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Countless visitors, commuters and businesses are feeling the effects. Source: 1 NEWS

5.30am: Road closures in the Auckland city centre have remained in place overnight as firefighter spent a second night battling the SkyCity convention centre fire, which started Tuesday afternoon.

Anyone who can work from home or from a location outside the city centre, or can start work at a later time has been advised to do so by Auckland Transport.

People have been advised to avoid any unnecessary travel.