Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Mystery fumes hospitalise 12 as workers return to office

Workers are being allowed back into a central Auckland building after 12 people were hospitalised by suspicious fumes.

People are being assessed after reports of a gas leak. Photo: RNZ / Danielle Street

Fire and Emergency say they don't know what caused the unknown smell in an Auckland office building this morning - but the building is now safe.

Emergency crews were called to Augusta House on the corner of Victoria Street West and Elliot Street at 9.30am after an unusual smell was noticed on the eighth floor.

Twelve people were taken to hospital and another 100 assessed after being exposed to the smell which caused nausea, headaches and vomiting.

Four floors were evacuated.

Assistant area commander Stephen Sosich said the bomb squad has been through the building doing tests but nothing has been identified.

"We've had our staff working with the air conditioning engineers on the affected floors and there is no smell present anymore so we've given it the all clear and the building has been handed back to the property manager."

"We've turned the air-conditioning back on and done all the tests we can so there's not a lot more we can do," he said.

There were about 100 people in the Qantas office in the building at the time and the airline said its offices were evacuated as a precaution.

"Emergency services attended the scene and a number of people were taken to hospital in a stable condition," said Qantas in a statement. "They are our first concern and we are monitoring their progress."

Do you know more? Send us an email:

St John Ambulance said six trucks were at the scene and a temporary triage site was set up to check patients.

Some people were being loaded into ambulances and others were being treated at the scene.

St John Ambulance spokesperson Simon Barnett said people who were affected were showing symptoms such as nausea, headaches and vomiting.

Mr Barnett said people called about an unusual smell on the third floor and it was evacuated.

Other floors were also evacuated and the smell has since dissipated, he said.

Greg Roughan works on the 14th floor of the building.

He said they received an email this morning saying a funny smell had been noticed and that work was being done on some pipes in the building.

But when he went down to the street level a bit later on, he noticed the smell.

"It was a weird sort of organic smell. To be honest, I would describe it as chicken manure, but it was a sickly, sweet musty odour."

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On Why We Should Be Anxious About Artificial Intelligence

Frankly, the prospect of possibly losing half the existing forms of paid employment to AI does make me feel extremely anxious, given the indifference shown by central government to the downstream social damage caused by the reform process last time around... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Tom Wolfe The Parajournalist

As New Journalism’s primary advocate, Tom Wolfe headed the field with such experimental forces as Norman Mailer, Truman Capote and Hunter S. Thompson, all dedicated to enriching supposedly factual accounts with excessive flourishes that hurried out the beige in favour of the kaleidoscopic. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Racism And The Windsors

For all the talk about the modernizing effect that Meghan Markle could have on the Royal Family, the suspicion all along has been that the House of Windsor is resistant to change at any level beyond the purely decorative. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Prospects Of US Talks With North Korea

On June 12, the leaders of North Korea and the United States will meet across a table in Singapore, and Kim Jong Un must already be feeling giddy at the thought that this meeting is already being described with the word “summit” formerly reserved for meetings between superpowers of equal stature... Image: Steve Bolton NZ's contribution to the IAEA’s work on North Korea

  • United Nations - UN chief ‘optimistic’ over peace efforts
  • David Swanson - Enough is Enough. The Time Has Come to BDS the US - Peace Comes to Korea: Let’s Understand Why
  • CTBTO - CTBTO on North Korea
  • NZ Govt - NZ welcomes talks between North and South Korea
  • Massey University - Nukes to cyber war – NZ security in focus
  • Jim Miles - The Doomsday Machine - Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner
  • UNHCHR - North Korea detente: UN expert urges human rights opening
  • Binoy Kampmark - Trump, North Korea and Post-Olympic Angst
  • Gordon Campbell: On National’s Latest Attempts At Relevance

    Having ignored the existence of massive problems in health and education for nine years in government, it is no longer politically viable for National to maintain the pretence that such problems really don’t exist, or are somehow unworthy of serious concern by rational men of commerce.... More>>