Mushrooms growing from walls of a leaky Auckland fire station - after a recent refurbishment - is part of widespread dysfunction, the firefighters union says.
In photos and video shown to the Herald, water can be seen gushing from the ceiling in the Balmoral fire station kitchen.
“It’s a problem that’s been known for some time,” the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union’s Auckland local president Terry Bird said.
“We’re out helping the community with these kinds of problems and we need to know we can come back to our station and not be affected by it.”
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (Fenz) owns and maintains the building, Bird said: “It’s their responsibility”.
Bird said firefighters at the station had to rely on takeaways or use cooking facilities at other stations while their kitchen was unusable.
The fire station just had a $1 million refurbishment, but leaks in the roof were not part of the station’s improvements.
The leaks and fungal growth were problems that had been known for “some time”. Bird said the issue was raised with those responsible.
“I ask myself why nothing has been done and I don’t have an answer.
“Clearly, every time it rains heavily there’s a problem, and there’s got to be something [Fenz] can do to improve this situation.”
Bird said the problem was not the leak itself, but the fact it had yet to be solved.
“What I would like is that when we report issues around our resources and when they are defective, we get a remedy that works.”
The union has previously stated that there is “a fire crisis” with Fenz failing to employ enough career firefighters and 111 emergency call centre dispatchers to meet minimum staffing.
Bird said the dilapidated condition of the Balmoral fire station was similar to other stations across the city.
“This is very much part of the fire crisis and the fact that we are dysfunctional in lots of areas. We see it in the media all the time, these areas where we are underperforming in terms of our resources.
“[Fenz] can’t hide behind the fact that leaking roofs, which are known problems, are also a sign of that dysfunction.”
Parnell fire station also suffered in heavy rain, flooding last week, Bird said.
Parnell was set to be demolished and replaced, Bird said, but “firefighters cannot be expected to sleep in a room where the carpet is soaking wet”.
Fenz has moved into a new building in Wellington, and Bird said, “I suspect their building won’t [leak]”.
The NZPFU represents professional career firefighters, 111 emergency call centre dispatchers, volunteer support officers, community risk reduction and resilience advisers, trainers and other specialist roles.