High rise fire ‘nightmare’
A central Auckland high-rise building’s fire hydrant system was not working when a fire broke out on Thursday, leaving firefighters in a ‘‘nightmare’’ situation.
Assistant area commander for the Fire Service Roger Callister said construction workers ‘‘must have disconnected’’ the 21-storey building’s fire hydrant system - pillars known as ‘‘risers’’, that transport water through each storey for fire hoses to be plugged into.
‘‘It was a nightmare,’’ he said. ‘‘We had a crew waiting up on the roof but no water to put the fire out.’’
Fire crews had to carry ‘‘enormous’’ lengths of hose up 21 flights of stairs to reach the blaze on the roof of the building.
‘‘The ridiculous thing is that the whole thing could have been done and dusted in 20 minutes if the risers had been operational.’’
As it was, the fire burned itself out before crews could get water to it. It had ignited due to a workman using a gas torch on the rooftop water cooler.
Brett Russell from Dominion Constructors, who were converting the building into a hotel, said he thought around 100 construction workers would have been on site at the time. Everyone was evacuated.
Auckland Council had shut the renovations down until it complied with the building code’s fire regulations.