Half a block in Wellington’s CBD evacuated after flood in buildings’ basements


Two buildings in downtown Wellington have been evacuated as a result of flooding in their shared basement.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand assistant commander Martin Wilby​ said the water had come from the main feed to the fire protection systems in JacksonStone & Partners building on the corner of Victoria and Hunter streets, in the capital’s city centre, on Friday morning.

The main had been isolated and crews from six Wellington fire stations were pumping out the basement of that building and the basement of Perpetual Guardian building next door.

“Wellington’s reticulated water supply network has not been affected and we have full firefighting water supply to all the surrounding buildings,” Wilby said.

A flooded basement in the JacksonStone & Partners building in central Wellington.

NZ Professional Firefighters Union/Supplied

A flooded basement in the JacksonStone & Partners building in central Wellington.

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The fire service has been pumping water out of a basement flood in central Wellington

MONIQUE FORD/Stuff

The fire service has been pumping water out of a basement flood in central Wellington

Wilby said Wellington City Council was supporting those requiring help as a result of the evacuations, while Fire and Emergency was working with contractors to re-establish a water supply to Jackson Stone House.

Thorndon senior station officer Matt Franklin said up to 30 cars could use the car park in the single-level shared basement, but on Friday only four cars were parked in the floodwater which was “waist high”.

He said crews had been busy since early on Friday morning, pumping an “Olympic size swimming pool” amount of water after the water main burst.

Two buildings in downtown Wellington have been evacuated as a result of flooding in their basements.

Gianina Schwanecke/Stuff

Two buildings in downtown Wellington have been evacuated as a result of flooding in their basements.

Power has been disconnected to both buildings for safety reasons.

The surrounding roads were down to one lane as a result of the emergency and footpaths had been closed.

Tom Mahony​, a principal at Mahoney Horner Lawyers​ which is based in the Jackson Stone House building, arrived at work shortly after 4.30am hoping to spend a bit of time at the gym.

Instead as he opened the roller door to the basement car park he was shocked to be greeted by floodwater.

Residents and workers at Jackson Stone House and a neighbouring building were evacuated as a result of the flooding.

Gianina Schwanecke/Stuff

Residents and workers at Jackson Stone House and a neighbouring building were evacuated as a result of the flooding.

Mahony contacted the building manager and then called emergency services, with firefighters arriving not long after.

The building was evacuated and with access barred from mid-morning, he said.

“People got the heads up early that we should work from home.”

It had been both a “very dramatic” and “disruptive” day. The disruptions had been especially painful as it happened on a Friday when the firm had a number of deadlines to meet.

He said there had been a “river of water” steadily flowing down Victoria St into the drains as firefighters pumped out the basement.

Mahony was not sure how many people had been evacuated that day or how many cars might have been impacted by the flooding.

He was also not yet sure if they would be able to return to work in the building on Monday.

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