12 Sep 2015

Taihape school to go up in flames

1:19 pm on 12 September 2015

An old Taihape school building will go up in flames this weekend - for a good cause.

Fire fighter checking the pressures of the appliance at 242 Adelaide Road, Newtown.

The former Taihape College building will be set alight for a firefighting training exercise. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

A hundred firefighters from 13 brigades will descend on the former Taihape College to carry out a series of live training exercises aimed at giving crews realistic practice in battling fires.

The fire service said paid and volunteer firefighters would conduct exercises in individual rooms before the entire building was set alight in a large-scale exercise.

Whanganui Area Commander Bernie Rush said such training often took place in small rural houses or commercial buildings.

"This is a unique opportunity to have a building this size to do training," Mr Rush said.

"Usually when we do live fire burns, typically what we have is a small farm cottage. On this occasion we have a two-storey, U-shaped classroom block."

The 53-year-old school was replaced by Taihape Area School in 2009.