Tears after school treasures lost in fire

By Louisa Cleave

Children just two days away from finishing primary school were in tears when they visited their burned-out classroom yesterday.

The Year 6 pupils from Maungawhau School in Mt Eden lost school work, including moveable toys created for a technology project, and year books signed by their friends before they depart for intermediate school.

The blaze that gutted the classroom is being treated as suspicious, although police say they are waiting on an electrical engineer's report.

Auckland deputy fire chief Graham Fuller said firefighters responded to calls of smoke in the area around 1am yesterday.

The firefighters did a good job to prevent the fire spreading to another two classrooms in the same block, he said.

Maungawhau principal Linley Bruce said some students and parents visited the fire scene yesterday.

"I had one little girl crying because she had her year book signed after prize-giving. [Former All Black] Eroni Clarke was one of our speakers and he had signed it."

A new teacher had moved her resources into the room on Friday and lost years of work, said Ms Bruce.

She said it was a sad end to the children's primary school days.

"It puts a big knot in your stomach when you see something like this."

The school should be able to replace lost year books "but their own personal touches and art works in them can't be replaced".

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