NEWS

150 Students Affected After Fire Damages Classrooms

More than 150 students of a Lautoka primary school will have to move into an alternate classroom and tents after a fire damaged a section of the school yesterday. Ami
22 Jan 2018 11:00
150 Students Affected After Fire Damages Classrooms
Ami Chandra Memorial School, in Tomuka, lost four classrooms that serve students in Year one, two and three, its library and a storeroom in the Saturday night fire. Photo: Charles Chambers

More than 150 students of a Lautoka primary school will have to move into an alternate classroom and tents after a fire damaged a section of the school yesterday.

Ami Chandra Memorial School in Tomuka, lost four classrooms that serve students in Year one, two and three, its library and a storeroom in the Saturday night fire.

An early spotting of smoke emanating from the storeroom and quick action by the National Fire Authority prevented the fire from destroying the entire school.

A statement from the Ministry of Education last night said personnel from the Ministry of Education, Office of the Commissioner Western Division and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces were now on standby to begin clearing debris once clearance was granted by the National Fire Authority and Police. 

It also stated that the school will be closed for at least two days as investigations are carried out and debris removed.

The ministry is currently mobilising resources to supply the school with textbooks, desks, chairs and temporary classroom structures. It will also provide regular updates for parents and students regarding the school re-opening.

The school’s caretaker, Kasanita Maria, who lives on the  school property, said her toddler son Rusiate Waqa, noticed the smoke first and then pointed it out to his older brother, Jovesa Tanoa, 8.

Ms Maria said the family then used buckets of water and a hose pipe to try and put out the fire.

“I called the Police at the same time and then the NFA,” Ms Maria said.

“We managed, along with residents and school committee members who live nearby, to save a lot of desks and other furniture from the rooms.”

School headteacher Prinesh Sagar Singh said the students would be relocated to a spare room and the rest would have their classes in tents.

Mr Singh said some furniture were saved and referred queries to the Ministry of Education.

The burnt out classrooms at Ami Chandra Memorial School in Lautoka. Photo: Charles Chambers

The burnt out classrooms at Ami Chandra Memorial School in Lautoka. Photo: Charles Chambers

Chief fire officer Qionilau Moceitai said the Lautoka Fire Station received a fire emergency call at 7.10pm from Ami Chandra Memorial School and immediately responded.

“Upon arrival at 7.19pm, the fire team saw the middle section of the building which consists of the library, storeroom and classrooms fully engulfed in flames,” he said.

“The team used water from the fire trucks and also used the fire hydrant in the area to extinguish the fire.” 

He said the strong wind at that time resulted in the fire spreading quickly to other classrooms which were attached in the same building.

“The fire team bravely fought the fire and were able to contain the fire in the middle section of the building and stopped it from spreading to other four classrooms, administration office and staff room.”

NFA are acrrying out an investigation to determine the cause of the fire.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Feedback: charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj



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