8 Jun 2010

Fire-hit decile 1 school couldn't afford sprinklers

7:00 am on 8 June 2010

The Fire Service says sprinklers would have prevented much of the damage caused by a school fire in South Auckland.

Four classrooms at Mangere East Primary School were destroyed in Sunday afternoon's fire, which the service is treating as suspicious.

It says the fire would have been minor if the buildings had been fitted with sprinklers. But a school spokesperson, board of trustees member Peter Sykes, says the decile 1 school can't afford them.

He says the firewalls and fire doors installed by the school prevented any further classrooms from going up in flames.

The school is expected to be closed for at least two days while staff assess the damage and try to work out how to rehouse 150 pupils.

Earlier on Sunday, a suspicious fire destroyed a science lab at Kerikeri High School, leading the Fire Service to speculate that the Mangere fire is a copycat crime.