On 22 October at 1.10pm we were alerted to a fire at Auckland’s SkyCity convention centre. It quickly became a significant and complex event due to the size of the fire and its location in a large building under construction.

At the fire’s peak we had 130 personnel, 30 appliances and 16 specialist and support vehicles at the scene. Expertise was provided from across and outside the Auckland area, including career and volunteer firefighters and support staff from across greater Auckland, an aerial appliance, crews and Operational Support from Hamilton, and Incident Commanders from across the country. It required a coordinated effort between Fire and Emergency and many local and national agencies.

Fire and Emergency handed back control of the building to Fletcher Construction 11 days later on Friday 1 November.

There are always lessons we can learn from events of this size and scale to improve the safety of our communities and our crews. So Fire and Emergency has commissioned an independent review of our management of this fire.

We will be asking the independent reviewers to consider firefighting operations and performance on the ground as well as Fire and Emergency support activities, including the management of the health, safety and wellbeing of our people across the incident ground.

The review will not consider the origin and cause of the fire. These findings will be released, subject to legal requirements, as part of the fire investigation into this event.

We’re currently finalising the terms of reference for the independent review and will release them shortly. The review team will be led by one or two independent reviewers, appointed by the review sponsor as recommended by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC). We expect the review will take some months to complete.

To those of you who responded to this event, whether you were on the frontline, operational support, or part of the incident management response: thank you. Your professionalism in trying conditions is a testament to the outstanding women and men we have at Fire and Emergency.

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