SkyCity has hit back at union claims that workers' health was at risk, releasing preliminary findings that there were no major issues with air quality in the SkyCity Auckland buildings.

SkyCity today released a letter from Occupational Hygienist Derek Miller outlining the initial findings after testing on October 23 through to October 25.

In the letter, Miller states that levels of oxygen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide were all within normal healthy workplace parameters across the SkyCity Auckland precinct.

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It's understood a blowtorch left ignited at the roof by a teenage apprentice was responsible for sparking the large blaze.

More than 150 firefighters were involved in extinguishing the fire which saw plumes of thick black smoke pour from the rooftop.

The Herald has previously reported that air pollution levels in Auckland's central city exceeded the safe standard for the first time in 10 years after the blaze and that some workers feared returning to their jobs within the SkyCity Auckland precinct.

Yesterday, Unite Union organiser for SkyCity Joe Carolan told Morning Report workers had been speaking anonymously to the union.

"The workers are complaining about burning eyes, burning throat and with our asthmatic workers: shortness of breath. We've had three people who've reported fainting and people have dizzy spells."

He said the union called for a health and safety strike over the weekend.

He was concerned about the difference of rules between corporate and cleaning staff.

"We want to know why there was a decision to rush people back to work on Thursday night when originally they'd said take the whole of Thursday off.


"We got mixed messages on Thursday night with many junior managers ordering people to come and do those shifts that they'd already planned around - with the premise that if you're pregnant or asthmatic 'don't come in'."

However, in the letter dated yesterday, Miller said no reports of acute ill health have been reported to either him or his team, during the clean-up or subsequently after the buildings were reopened.

"It should be noted that following a fire, smoke can contain many different chemicals, including aldehydes, acid gases, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene, toluene, styrene, metals and dioxins," Miller said.

Thick smoke lingered in the city centre for several days. Photo / Michael Craig
Thick smoke lingered in the city centre for several days. Photo / Michael Craig

"The type and amount of particles and chemicals in smoke varies depending on what is burning, how much oxygen is available, and the burn temperature.

"However, these are normally found in the fire damaged area, e.g. the New Zealand International Convention Centre and directly outside in the street, not throughout neighbouring buildings (especially when the ventilation systems inlets had been shut down as a precaution).

"As said, our preliminary findings indicate that there were no major issues with air quality in the SkyCity Auckland buildings that gave rise to concern during our time on site."

A total of 27 million litres has been used to fight the fire with a peak flow of 250 litres per second, according to Watercare.

This equates to about one per cent of what Auckland uses in a week.