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Serious concerns high-rise in central Wellington may collapse

There are serious concerns for a building in central Wellington, and emergency services are attending the scene.

The building is on Molesworth Street, and the road has been closed.

Firefighters have cordoned off a section of Molesworth St that includes Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, the National Library and NZ Rugby headquarters.

They are clearing people from the area.


 

View ongoing updates, photos, via NZHerald here


 

Andrew Walker, senior station officer with the fire service, said they were investigating the potential for the building at 61 Molesworth St to collapse.

“We are consulting with a private engineer and city council to assess it.”

Walker did not know if people had been in the building since the earthquake, but said there was no one there now. People from surrounding buildings in the cordoned area are being evacuated now.

“The contract engineer is advising the building is unsafe…it seems there might be a supporting column that might have sheared.”

That assessment was being done using cellphone photos, he said. The cordon was big enough so that if the building did collapse it would be contained within it.

The building looks to be about 10 stories tall.

Members of the Diplomatic Protection Squad (DPS) – normally accompanying the Prime Minister at neighbouring Parliament – are on the scene helping direct traffic at the Hill St intersection.

“I was at a seperate fire service down the road, and the engineer approached me with his concerns, so I have escalated it to the point where we can make a safe assessment of the situation.

“I would rather this situation…ensuring things are done right and they aren’t rushed…it is very easy to explain [this] disruption. It’s harder to explain that the building has collapsed and killed people.”

– Image / The building is on Molesworth Street, and the road has been closed. Photo / NZME

– NZ Herald


View News Updates here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11748580

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