Quick action by firefighters saved the library at Hamilton’s Monivae College after a ceiling fire destroyed the roof of the year 12 study area.
Monivae College principal Mark McGinnity said several study seminar rooms suffered water and smoke damage and would have to be repaired.
Mr McGinnity said the loss of the large study area, which could accommodate about 70 students, and the study seminar rooms would make the education areas available at the college “tight” until at least Easter.
He said students would use other facilities in the interim. Mr McGinnity said it appeared the fire started in a light fitting in the roof of the study area. It was reported about 8.55am just as school started for the day.
He said the calm and orderly evacuation of students and staff and the quick response by firefighters meant students missed only two class periods before they returned to their studies.
“The emergency services were excellent,” Mr McGinnity said.
CFA district five operations officer Henry Barton said damage to the study area alone was likely to be about $100,000.
Mr Barton said the iron roof of the single-storey study area was extensively damaged, the flames burning through the rafters.
He said firefighters prevented any damage to the lockers of year 12 students in the study area.
The college had evacuated all 650 students and staff before the fire brigade arrived, Mr Barton said.
Eight CFA units attended the fire and had it under control within 30 minutes.
Mr Barton said the cause of the fire has been put down to a faulty ballast in a fluorescent light.
He said cases of ballasts igniting were rare, but dust might have built up in the 40-year-old fixture and contributed to its ignition.