The Auckland City Fire Station has been declared a ‘hot zone’ today as emergency services attend the site to complete asbestos decontamination works. The station was completely shut down this afternoon after a contamination event, which required all firefighters and trucks to undergo major decontamination work.
The Auckland secretary of the New Zealand Professional Firefighter’s Union, Martin Campbell, called the event a “complete shitshow”, noting that the contamination occurred when contractors drilled through a concrete wall and released asbestos throughout the station.
Campbell explained that contractors had been completing work on the first floor of the fire station for several weeks, but the incident today was the first issue the project has run into.
“Particles were sent off for testing, and they immediately flagged as positive, meaning the whole station and everything in it is now considered a ‘hot zone’,” Campbell said.
Campbell said the incident is “still very much developing” as decontamination teams work to determine the extent of the issue. “Until that’s done none of the day crew can go home, and the night crew can’t start their shift.
“This means that Auckland currently has no heavy aerial appliances or hazardous material teams. It’s pretty serious.”
It’s also been noted that Fire and Emergency NZ don’t have asbestos specialists as part of their team, and have reached out to Queensland fire brigade’s specialist unit to assist.
The breadth of the asbestos contamination is not known at this stage, with Fire and Emergency NZ yet to comment. An unnamed source told a local news outlet, “All the guys, everyone, everything, is contaminated”.
“This is New Zealand’s busiest fire station, and suddenly all our fire trucks have been taken off the run and are being told they can’t leave until further notice.