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SkyCity recovery underway, albeit slowly

SkyCity’s hotels, casinos, and F&B establishments have begun to reopen again, following a fire that broke out on Tuesday last week.

The fire began at lunchtime on Tuesday at the top story of the seven-story complex, requiring nearly a hundred firefighters to get it under control. 

The cause of the fire has not yet been understood, but an executive of the construction company said it the fire originated from an area where blowtorches were used. 

As of Monday, firefighters are still on the scene of the fire. 

A crane is being used to remove iron and roofing materials while many roads around the convention center remain closed. More roads are expected to open overnight for a normal working day tomorrow.

Pumping the eight million liters of water from the basement of the convention center has continued throughout the weekend.

About a hundred cars, many of them belonging to SkyCity employees, are in the basement and may well be written off. 

The company has promised full compensation although staff has yet to be told how or when this will be paid.

It is also understood that the staff union had declared a 48-hour strike on Friday, after claims that some Skycity staff passed out from the fumes in the days following the fire. 

"It wasn't the fire that was the hazard, it's the stuff that we're breathing in. And we were breathing it in for far too long," said Unite senior organizer Joe Carolan on Friday. 

SkyCity says only 48 of its 1,000 employees failed to show for their shifts and business is continuing. 

Most businesses in the SkyCity precinct have reopened after being closed for at least two days last week, which has caused a collective loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars according to the local Chamber of Commerce.

A full investigation into the cause of the blaze began on Saturday.

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