A large crane and specialist rescue workers are being brought in to help put out the SkyCity convention centre fire in Auckland.

Flames are still visible this morning and smoke is billowing out towards the SkyCity casino area

The fire has been burning since about 1pm on Tuesday and firefighters are allowing the roof to be destroyed by flames so they can get better access to the building to fight the fire.

They are confident just the top two floors of the convention centre have been damaged.

Hot spots remaining in the roof will need to be dug out by hand and to do this, firefighters will be suspended over the area in a basket attached to the crane.

Urban Search and Rescue specialists trained in rope and line rescue techniques are also headed for the site this morning.

Counties Manukau fire chief Geoff Purcell said after two days the crews have managed to contain the damage. He said there is now a big open space between the fifth and seventh floors.

Road closures are still in place and will be through the morning peak period.

People who work in the central city are being asked to work from home again if possible.

Mayor Phil Goff said some buildings may remain closed and people should watch for announcements and check with their employers.

“The traffic could have been much worse yesterday but people sensibly stayed away from that area,” he told First Up.

“We’ll ask them to do that again today.

“If there’s still smoke in the air, if you got one of those face masks, that’s a good idea – it’s not essential but it does help.”

The building work lead contractor, Fletcher Building, said the fire was first spotted in an area where blowtorches were being used to seal bitumen roof joints.

Roofing Association chief executive Graham Moor said that process might sound high risk, but simple measures can be taken to ensure nothing catches alight.

He said when he had put in that type of roofing, he had always had fire extinguishers nearby, and another precaution is having a spotter to watch over the welding work.

Fletcher Building said it had a permit system which laid down the rules for any job that generated a spark.

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