The expansion efforts of SkyCity Entertainment Group, a casino operator suffered a major setback after its mega-project in New Zealand literally caught fire.
On Tuesday, Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, was covered in smoke after a fire broke out at SkyCity’s Convention Center which is still under construction and located at the center of town. According to reports, the fire started on the rooftop at 1pm and quickly spread to other parts of the building.
Over time, the fire grew, and forced the management of the project to carry out a controlled evacuation of the entire area. This included the Sky Tower, which is the nation’s tallest building. In addition, the controlled evacuation also occurred at SkyCity Auckland Casino, all SkyCity hotels, corporate offices and restaurants. As luck would have it, only one person has been reported injured.
The entire Fire department in Auckland was at the scene of the blaze, with extra units called in from Hamilton. It didn’t take time for thick smoke to be seen across Auckland. This prompted officials to advise people with breathing issues to stay indoors. They were also advised them to switch off their air conditioning, and travel into the Auckland was discouraged.
All through the night, the fire raged on, fanned by strong winds, with gusts increasing to about 60 km/h. With time, officials believe the gusts could rise to about 100km/h if it’s not put off before Wednesday. This happens to be a worst case scenario and would further complicate efforts to stop the fire.
Fire crews could only look on as the only choice they had was to let the fire burn out. This was because the building was still under construction and the firefighters could not access roof without fears of caving in.
The cause of this terrible blaze could not be ascertained as at press time, although there have been unconfirmed reports that a workman using a blowtorch was responsible as he accidently ignited building materials. Some other reports reaching us is that a worker left the blowtorch unattended which led to the inferno.
On Wednesday, Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister planned to meet with fire and emergency crew, including SkyCity reps,.
News of the inferno caused SkyCity’s share price to fall as the share price experienced a 4% drop on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. As the day passed on shares recovered to a certain extent, closing out the trading on Tuesday down to about 3% at NZ$3.87.
In annual financial report, SkyCity stated that the new convention center – which was estimated to cost around NZ$700 million – would not likely be completed until the last quarter of 2020. While hosting of its first events would start in the first quarter of 2021.