Two women caught on camera with a wheelie bin on Tikipunga High School grounds are suspects in a school gymnasium fire.
The fire is believed to have started beside the school gym about 4.40am yesterday. Two women captured by security cameras may be responsible for starting the fire, police say.
"Police believe that a wheelie bin was brought into the school and its contents were emptied and then lit beside the school gymnasium and gymnasium storage room. It appears the bin was used as a shield," police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett said.
Tikipunga High School principal Alec Solomon said "we're bitterly disappointed".
"You know, the gym is one of the most used rooms in the school. It's absolutely full of students at interval and lunch time playing games and enjoying themselves."
The fire damaged the walls of the storage room and a wall of the gymnasium where the two buildings connected. Mrs Kennett said fire crews extinguished the fire before further damage occurred. Mr Solomon said it would be "devastating" if the fire was confirmed as malicious.
"If it is arson it's a mindless and senseless act."
Mr Solomon said the gym was out of action yesterday and today.
But as school holidays started tomorrow, Mr Solomon said it gave the school a window of opportunity to organise repairs. He was unsure how much it would cost to repair the gym as he was waiting for engineers to look at the damage.
"That [repairs] will get under way as soon as possible," he said.
Detective Sergeant John Clayton said police would like to hear from anyone who may recognise the two women or anyone who saw suspicious activity around the school at the time of the fire. Police would also like to hear from anyone who is missing a wheelie bin.
Anyone who recognises the two women or who has information about the fire is asked to call Detective Sergeant John Clayton on 021 191 5827 or if they wish to remain anonymous they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.