Girls' High blaze under investigation

Costumes and kitchen only things salvageable

Last updated 05:00 19/11/2012
Firefighters at the scene of the blaze at New Plymouth Girls’s High School on Sunday night.
RAPID RESPONSE: Firefighters at the scene of the blaze at New Plymouth Girls’s High School on Sunday night.

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A stock pile of costumes is all that's left in the New Plymouth Girls' High School performing arts centre after it was gutted in a fire last night.

Firefighters were alerted to the blaze about 10.45pm after numerous reports of thick smoke billowing across Mangorei Rd.

It then took 16 firefighters more than five hours to put it out.

No one was in the building at the time and no other buildings were damaged.

Principal Jenny Ellis said the fire had gutted the stand alone building which is used for drama classes and public performances.

"There was a lot of valuable equipment in there," she said.

"It appears the costumes are salvageable. There has been a huge investment of time and money building the stock of costumes, so that's a positive."

Whether the building will be replaced is entirely up to the Ministry of Education, Mrs Ellis said.

"That [a replacement] would be absolutely ideal, but it is in the hands of the ministry they own the building."

"It won't be until the ministry assess it that we will know what the next phase will be."

Mrs Ellis said the school had a reputation for their performing arts and the building was a big part of that.

"It's a really valuable asset," she said.

"It was used for public performance, it's an intimate theatre."

New Plymouth Senior Station Officer Steve Dombroski said the fire took so long to put out because it was hard to access.

"When we arrived the building was on fire," he said.

"There was a service area with pipes and wire and it had gotten in there. It was really awkward because that area was enclosed which made access hard."

The cause of the fire is being investigatied, Mr Dombroski said.

Mrs Ellis said it was fortunate that senior students had finished and there was plenty of space to house junior students who would have used the building.

"The few classes that would have been in there have been shifted to another area," she said

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- Taranaki Daily News

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