24 Jun 2009

Pair critical after explosion at high school

10:03 pm on 24 June 2009

Two people are critically injured following an explosion in the boiler room of Orewa College, near Auckland.

St John Ambulance says one person suffered burns to up to 90% of their body, while another person suffered head injuries. Both are in Auckland Hospital.

The Fire Service says the incident happened about 2.40pm on Wednesday and a fire was contained.

Principal Kate Shevland told Checkpoint a staff member and a contractor were fixing a problem with the boiler which malfunctioned on Tuesday.

Ms Shevland says a loud explosion was heard throughout the school and steam was seen coming from the boiler room.

Matt, a 14-year-old student, says there was confusion as students and staff tried to work out what had happened. He says his teacher evacuated his class to a rugby field once the fire alarm started ringing.

Orewa College, in Rodney District, has a roll of about 1600 students. The school will be closed on Thursday and counselling is being organised for students and staff.