KEY POINTS:

• Hotspots are flaring up on the SkyCity convention centre rooftop, which is about 85 per cent burned through.
• At the fire's peak, 130 firefighters were battling the inferno, which has been burning since 1.15pm on Tuesday
• Fire crews were hoping the roof will have burned through by 8pm but flames are still emerging and being quickly doused by water cannons.
• Air pollution levels in Auckland's central city exceeded the safe standard for the first time in 10 years
• Fletcher Building confirmed there was no fire alarm system on incomplete centre levels
• Inside convention centre fire: Expert explains what's driving blaze
• SkyCity fire: Health risks from toxic smoke explained
• Auckland Regional Health Service has released its latest advice after SkyCity's convention centre fire

Firefighters are heading into their third day of battling flames at SkyCity's new convention centre - as authorities continue to field calls from worried members of the public.

Flames were still visible at the site on Hobson St just before 6.30am.

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A reporter at the scene said: "About 20 per cent of the roof is still burning''.

Northern fire communications shift manager Paul Radden said the official update this morning was that there had been "no change'' from overnight.

However, they had received a number of calls from people who live in apartments around the building, scared other fires had sparked up.

"Just calls from people in apartments thinking that it's another fire in another building - or reflections in windows of other fires''.

People were still worried, he said.

Fire crews at the Hobson St fire this morning. Photo / Mark Graham
Fire crews at the Hobson St fire this morning. Photo / Mark Graham

Radden did not say exactly how many firefighters were on the ground now, but that teams were in the processing of changing shifts just after 5.30am.

Anyone due to drive into the city centre can still expect a maze of road blocks and closures, as authorities continue to cordon off parts of the city as fire crews carry out their job.

The official advice from road authorities is stay away and work from home if you can.

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"Please avoid any unnecessary travel," Auckland Transport said.

"If you can work from home [today] or from a non-central location or start work later in the day, we recommend you do so".

The closures in place are the immediate area around the building, which takes out big chunks of Nelson St, Victoria St West and Hobson St.

Drivers heading into the city centre from West Auckland could do so via Pt Chevalier to Victoria St West.

READ MORE:
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SkyCity fire live: Firefighters battle blaze into Wednesday morning
Air pollution exceeded safe levels after SkyCity fire

On site for days

The effects from the convention centre fire are expected to be felt well into the future.

At its peak, 150 firefighters and 30 fire appliances battled the blaze in the $700 million New Zealand International Convention Centre, which was still under construction.

Firefighters kept up a constant torrent of water on Wednesday and by afternoon, Fire and Emergency said the blaze had been contained to the convention centre's sixth and seventh floors.

Firefighters seen battling the blaze yesterday. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Firefighters seen battling the blaze yesterday. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Small bursts of flames could be seen on the building's roof at 9pm, but fire officers said it was slowing down. They expect to be at the site for days.

"We are without any doubt winning the battle against the fire," said regional manager Ron Devlin said this afternoon.

The construction site made it one of the most challenging fires tackled in recent memory, but letting the roof burn out was proving successful, he said.

Nearly all businesses around the scene of the fire closed yesterday and more disruption is expected today.

Auckland Council, the Auckland District Court, the Central Library and the City Art Gallery also shut their doors for the day.

SkyCity said its casino, both hotels, the Sky Tower and all its restaurants remained closed yesterday.

Motorists were advised to avoid the central city again this morning, as parts of Hobson, Nelson and Wellesley Sts will be closed.

Those who could work from home or non-central locations were advised to do so.

"If you are able to time your travel to avoid peak-hour traffic, by leaving earlier or later than usual, we advise you to do so," said John Nottage of AT.

Train services were not affected but some bus routes had been altered.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service advised people to take precautions because of lingering smoke affecting air quality across the CBD.

One firefighter was taken to hospital yesterday with moderate injuries after being struck by a piece of falling roof and suffering a concussion.

"It was unusual, and may have been flicked off in the wind," Devlin said. "It is not what we want to happen, and [why] we have been very careful with internal operations."

St John confirmed to the Herald a further five people were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Firefighters seen battling the blaze yesterday. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Firefighters seen battling the blaze yesterday. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who visited the site yesterday, said she wanted to acknowledge the firefighters who had been working under difficult circumstances.

"The team on the ground have been incredibly professional, very focused on what they can do to preserve the building."

Aucklanders went out of their way to help with pizza and sushi donated to the crews, and one man drove up to the cordon, dropped off a tray of bottled water and shook a firefighter's hand before driving off.

Viaduct restaurant and pub HeadQuarters offered firefighters free meals, drinks and a place to lie down.

"Don't even ring, just turn up. We know you, you know us, you're gold, and we owe you this."

READ MORE:
SkyCity fire live: Firefighters battle blaze into Wednesday morning
SkyCity fire live: Crews attack hotspots with wall of water to keep blaze contained
SkyCity Convention Centre could collapse if fire burns long enough
Inside the SkyCity Convention Centre fire: Expert explains what's driving blaze

Janelle Himmel arrived at the cordon to check in with her fiance, Daniel Rosan, one of the many firefighters battling the blaze.

"Seeing this makes his job very real," she said.
The couple, who get married next month, shared a kiss and spoke briefly at the cordon before Rosan had to leave again.

Although the fire had affected the sixth and seventh floors, Devlin said the fifth floor looked in good shape. The roof's membrane was damaged, but the structure looked to be intact.

"We expected the roof to burn and collapse, and it is doing exactly that." Once the roof had burned through they could enter the building and tackle the fire internally.

SkyCity chief executive Graeme Stephens said he hoped staff working on the convention centre project would be back at work tomorrow.

Stephens and Fletcher Building chief executive Ross Taylor were adamant that the centre would eventually open, although no timeframes could now be given.

"It was an amazingly iconic building yesterday and will be again.

"We will get the phoenix out of the ashes," Stephens said.

Taylor backed him up: "This is a very important project for SkyCity, Auckland and New Zealand and we will get this project finished to quality and make sure it's the iconic building and a very important piece of infrastructure Auckland and New Zealand needs. Fletcher is committed to getting the project finished and we will."

Ardern said Apec 2021 would still be held in Auckland, but the venue was a point of discussion for Government.

"New Zealand has hosted Apec before ... without a convention centre. We had contingency in place."

Officials refused to speculate on how the fire started, but workers said they believed an unattended blowtorch could have ignited the straw-like acoustic layer, quickly spreading to the roof's bitumen membrane.

Fire and Emergency was also working hard to ensure any run-off from water used to fight the fire was minimised, and Auckland Council and Watercare were monitoring this as the emergency continued.