After battling a four-day blaze in the heart of Auckland, firefighters thanked the community for its support in the biggest way possible – with a billboard!
When the site of the upcoming SkyCity convention centre was engulfed by flames, it took four long days for firefighters to get the blaze under control.
At the fire's peak, 150 firefighters were involved, along with 30 fire trucks and 16 support vehicles. Their work didn’t go unnoticed by the locals who poured into the streets with offers of support.
Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) assistant area commander Mike Shaw said the experience was humbling.
"A cute little child came along with cupcakes with strawberries on top and mum with her,” he said. "I was absolutely famished. And I was so proud to see them out there doing it for us."
With the centre of the city grinding to a near standstill, local business owners turned their attention to the firefighters’ needs. For example, one firefighter reported that a nearby sushi shop was struggling to get customers because the central city had all but closed. “So, they gave the food to the fire service!” he said.
To say thank you, FENZ took out a huge billboard at Victoria Park, near the site of the fire, reading "THANK YOU AUCKLAND FOR YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT" in capital letters.
"We just want to say thank you for your patience, thank you for your donations, thank you for your support during what's been a very arduous time for us,” said Shaw.