Sky City Convention Centre fire update

Friday 25 October 2019

Latest update from the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS)

25.10.2019

Getting out in the CBD after the Sky City Convention Centre fire

There will still be some smoke in the CBD as fire hot spots are extinguished, so please avoid going near the smoke. If you are exposed to smoke and you experience shortness of breath, wheezing, triggering of asthma symptoms or chest pain please see your doctor immediately or go to an Emergency Department.

In healthy people, most symptoms disappear soon after exposure to smoke ends and cause no long term health problems.

For people away from the smoke, you can now plan to clean surfaces and ventilate buildings.

Cleaning up after the fire

Smoke from the Sky City Convention Centre fire has got into many nearby apartments, offices, shops and other buildings. Smoke particles and smell can persist inside buildings and some people’s health may be affected by eye and nose irritation or worsening asthma, breathing or heart conditions. Babies and young children may be most exposed to pollutants on surfaces. This is because they spend most time in contact with floors and put their hands in their mouth frequently.

When there is no further smoke, people should plan to improve air quality inside their building as follows: 

  • Open windows and doors to bring in fresh air.
  • Clean air conditioning unit filters. Building managers should clean air filters and ventilation systems.
  • Wash down railings, balconies and decks, and wipe down any outside furniture and objects with a damp cloth.
  • Clean filters and covers of outdoor pools. 

If your house smells of smoke

  • Ventilate your house by opening windows and doors to let in fresh air.
  • Vacuum clean (including upholstery), preferably using a cleaner with a HEPA filter.
  • Wash hard surfaces, food preparation areas and any cooking utensils left out with detergent and hot water. 

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?

FENZ has a page on restoring your property after a fire: https://fireandemergency.nz/in-the-event-of-fire/restoring-your-property/

Employers should visit the WorkSafe NZ website

For information on air quality in Auckland see Auckland Council

For health advice please phone Healthline 0800 611 116

Wednesday 23 October

The fire at the Sky City Convention Centre is still alight, and there is significant disruption to the central business district of Auckland (CBD). 

The University is open, and there is no reason not to come onto the City Campus. However if you have asthma or other respiratory conditions you might want to consider working from home, as there is still smoke in the CBD area. 

In addition, traffic into and out of the city centre is severely disrupted, with some bus services diverted or cancelled.

More details can be found on the Auckland Transport website.

Staff who wish to work from home should make sure to square it with their managers.  

The wind is expected to shift to the south later this morning, which will blow the smoke away from the University.

We will provide further updates as the situation develops. 

In the meantime, Civil Defence and the Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) are advising people in the CBD to take the following precautions:

  • Stay away from the fire site and out of smoke 
  • Stay indoors and keep windows closed
  • Shut down external ventilation if smoke is being drawn into your building
  • See your doctor if smoke has caused shortness of breath or worsening of asthma symptoms
  • Wipe down surfaces – especially food preparation and cooking surfaces – in areas affected by smoke

People who smoke, the elderly, children, and those with heart disease, asthma or other lung conditions are at greatest risk of harm from smoke inhalation and should avoid exposure.

If you experience any acute effects from the fire such as difficulties breathing, wheezing, coughing or chest pain, you should seek assistance from your GP or call Healthline on 0800 611 116 for free, 24-hour health advice.

In healthy people, most symptoms disappear soon after exposure to smoke ends, and cause no long-term health problems.