The fire, believed to have been caused by an electrical fault, started from the principal’s office and quickly swept through the entire building in less than an hour, bringing into flames two deputy principals’ offices, the bursar’s office and the school’s main administration office.
According to a teacher, the fire started at around 4pm and by the time firefighters – arrived about an hour later from Kokopo – the entire two-storey building was already under flames.
The top level of the building housed the former principal, however, it was left vacant till the fire gutted the building.
The teacher said they managed to break into the principal’s office when the fire started but could not save much as the heat of the flames kept them at bay.
He added that they managed to save some furniture and a computer from the deputy principal-administration office, including some uniforms from the bursar’s office. However, they were unable to save most valuable office equipment and school stationery that were stored in the admin office.
The teacher pointed out that properties lost in the fire could cost well over K100,000.
He said the school was preparing for the Grade 10’s first Mock Exams to be held the following day. Unfortunately, this will need to be cancelled since most documents needed for the exams were lost in the fire.
He explained that most student report cards, examination results and student assessments, including Grade 10 and Grade 12 certificates, were lost in the blaze.
This is not the first time the school has lost buildings in fire; its historical library and a science lab were razed in the last five years.
As firefighters fought to contain the inferno, onlookers at the school included the School Board of Governor’s chairman, Reverend Nakikus Bellie, boarding students, Rabaul District Administrator Marakan Uvano, Rabaul Open Member Dr Allan Marat, senior public servants from both the ENB Provincial Administration and the Rabaul District Administration and members of the public.