Fire engulfs exclusive school

by Robert Ballantyne20 Apr 2016

An investigation by the arson squad is underway after a blaze tore through one of Melbourne’s most exclusive private schools this morning.

It is understood the fire broke out at Wesley College’s Glen Waverley campus at 5:15am this morning following a series of explosions heard by nearby residents.
 
The fire engulfed 10 classrooms, including the school’s junior science lab which was built in the 1960s.

Firefighters gained control of the fire shortly after 7.00am and contained it to the atrium building, near the middle of the school campus.
 
Just hours earlier, teachers, parents and students were celebrating the school's 150th anniversary at the MCG.

Metropolitan Fire Brigade chief officer Peter Rau told The Age that the fire started in the school’s atrium before spreading to an area “approximately 50 metres by 50 metres in size”.
 
He cautioned that it was too early to tell whether the fire had been deliberately lit.
 
“It's too dangerous for firefighters to get in at this point to get a clear understanding of the cause,” he said.

The school’s principal, Dr Helen Drennen, said the damage was “very upsetting” for the school.
 
“We're hoping to establish, of course, business as usual, but many, many people will be upset about what happened today,” she said.
 
Drennen said a security officer had been at the campus overnight, but it was a maintenance worker, who arrived at 5am, who raised the alarm.
 
She said she would re-assess at the end of the day whether to reopen the school tomorrow.
 

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