Arson was immediately blamed when the classroom block of Timaru Main School was destroyed by fire early in the morning of August 4, 1989.
The 12-classroom, two-storey block was damaged beyond repair in the biggest school fire Timaru had seen for many years along with tens of thousands of dollars of teacher resource materials and computer equipment.
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Three fires were lit that night, the other two in Butler St near Rattray's retail store and warehouse. It was said that attempts had been made at the school to light a fire on external decking before entry was forced and a fire lit just inside the door.
Accelerants were not thought to have been used but the fire spread upward and outward, gutting two rooms on the ground floor and extensively damaging almost the entire upper floor, including the library.
The school was rebuilt, but then closed in the sweeping closures of 2005 and merged with Timaru West School on their site to make Bluestone School.
- The Timaru Herald