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Auckland explosion: two people in critical condition

Two people remain in critical condition after an explosion last week at a construction site in central Auckland.

The explosion occurred at the Wynyard Quarter site, which is being developed by Precinct Properties and Auckland Council’s development division Eke Panuku.
Photo: RNZ / Felix Walton

Five people were taken to hospital from the construction site in Wynyard Quarter on the morning of August 26.

Firefighters at the scene used hoses to treat burn patients.

It’s not yet confirmed what caused the explosion, but reports suggest an LPG bottle connected to a barbecue exploded at the Hawkins construction site around 6:30 a.m. on the day.

It is common for construction workers to use portable gas stoves.

WorkSafe immediately began the investigation but said it could take up to 12 months to complete the work.

In a statement last week, parent company Downer said it was working with authorities to determine what had happened and its immediate focus was on supporting the injured workers, their whānau and the team on the ground.

The site of the explosion in Halsey Street, Auckland CBD on August 26, 2022.

After the explosion in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter last week, pieces of burnt clothing were seen.
Photo: RNZ / Nick Monro

The chairman of the Council of Trade Unions, Richard Wagstaff, said last week that he wanted a full investigation into the incident.

“It is important that there is a full and detailed investigation into how this happened and that steps are taken to better protect workers.”

Wagstaff said the industry had a terrible record of workers killed or injured on the job, with 11 construction workers killed and 4,800 injured last year.

Fire and Emergency said its own investigation into the incident was also underway.

The Wynyard Quarter site is being developed by Precinct Properties and Eke Panuku, Auckland Council’s development arm, where three new office buildings with ground floor retail outlets are planned.

Construction started this year and is expected to be completed in 2025.

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