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Lend Lease Drops as Fire Threatens Crane at A$6 Billion Site

March 12 (Bloomberg) -- Lend Lease Group, Australia’s biggest listed property developer, fell by the most in two weeks after a fire forced work to halt at its A$6 billion ($5.4 billion) Barangaroo South development on Sydney’s harbor.

A fire started at about 2 p.m. local time in the basement at the southern end of the site, possibly destabilizing a crane and prompting the area to be evacuated, according to the company and emergency services. The shares slid 2.6 percent to end the day at A$11.31 in Sydney, the biggest decline since Feb. 26.

“There are concerns that if the fire does continue to burn, it could possibly cause some structural issues” with the crane, Superintendent Ian Krimmer of Fire and Rescue New South Wales said in televised remarks to reporters. “There’s no immediate threat of the crane coming down but we have to contain this fire.”

The company is creating a financial precinct that will include three office towers, luxury apartments, a casino and hotel, and retail and dining facilities at Barangaroo. Today’s incident, at one of the two office buildings on which it’s begun work, follows a crane fire in November 2012 at a construction site managed by the company at a Sydney university, and the collapse of a crane at a Lend Lease site in New York City during superstorm Sandy.

The cause of the fire hasn’t yet been determined, Krimmer said. There have been no reports of injuries, he said. More than 100 firefighters are working in shifts of between five and 10 minutes to extinguish the fire, and hazardous materials teams are monitoring the water run-off for contaminants, he said.

The offices of KPMG LLP and Sussex Hotel nearby have been evacuated, he said. The closure of a nearby highway is causing major traffic delays in Sydney’s center, according to Transport for New South Wales.

Today’s share losses shrank Lend Lease’s price gains this year to 1.5 percent. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index has risen 0.6 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nichola Saminather in Sydney at nsaminather1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net Iain McDonald, Edward Johnson

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