8 Nov 2018

Kaiapoi North School fire: 'Everything in those two classrooms is gone'

7:40 am on 8 November 2018

The principal of a school north of Christchurch says he's devastated after a fire razed two classrooms overnight.

No caption

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Fire and Emergency had multiple calls of a blaze visible from Kaiapoi North School at 1.45am this morning.

Two crews from Kaiapoi arrived to find a classroom block well alight and crews were called in from nearby Rangiora and Woodend.

The fire has now been extinguished and an investigator will arrive later this morning.

The school's principal, Jason Miles, said he was shocked to get the call and rushed to get there at around 2am.

"The fire service were doing an amazing job, it's a double prefab classroom and the block is pretty close to another three-classroom block and they were working hard to stop it spreading and they managed to do so. We're very grateful.

The classrooms were part of the Paneke block which housed year 3 and 4 students.

"It's just a shell left unfortunately. Everything in those two classrooms is gone and there's just the bare bones of the building still standing.

"There's going to be some devastated children and staff. When you lose a classroom they've been working in all year there's a lot of treasured artifacts and work they've produced, resources that are in there that are special to them."

With five weeks left in the school year he said they would need to work through where to house the children.

The school would be closed today as the area is cleared and an investigation gets underway.

"I don't want to pre-empt an investigation but I imagine there are some suspicious circumstances around it, it's not something that you'd expect to happen overnight."

When asked whether fireworks could have been involved he said there was no evidence of that however "we are right next to a reserve where fireworks are often let off by families so it could be factor but I can't confirm or deny that.