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07/04/11 - Chester Hill North School fire

Published: 7th April 2011

Just after midday on Thursday 7 April, fire crews were called to reports of a fire in a school building at Chester Hill North Public School. Guildford crew arrived to find the roof area of a building 30m by 15m totally involved in fire. Fortunately they were advised that all students had been evacuated safely and were able to immediately concentrate on attacking the fire. Support was requested, and additional crews from Fairfield, Bankstown, Merrylands, Silverwater and Parramatta responded.

The old school building had been undergoing renovations and the fire quickly spread through the roof void, causing extensive damage to the structure. It took two hours to bring the fire under control and finally extinguish the blaze. Although all 500 students and staff were evacuated safely, some students started to complain of minor smoke inhalation. As a precaution, a total of 16 students and 3 staff were conveyed to local hospitals by a large fleet of ambulances for further assessment. All were released later that day.

Fire investigators believe that there were no suspicious circumstances and that the cause of the fire was most likely accidental. This incident highlights the importance of schools having well rehearsed evacuation procedures. The immediate moving of children to safety and rollcalls certainly made the job of first arriving firefighters much easier, and school staff are commended.