A fire which torched part of a Bay of Plenty school overnight is being treated as suspicious.

The fire damaged the exterior wall of Whakātane's Allandale School on King St.

Firefighters were called to the blaze at 6.40pm, a Fire and Emergency NZ spokeswoman said.

"It was a small pre-fab fire on an external wall," she said.

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"A fire investigator has gone out to it."

On the school's Facebook page, it stated that fire investigators were treating the event as suspicious. The school also commended the actions of the local community.

"...A huge 'thank you' to our vigilant neighbours and to the amazing women and men of the Whakatāne Volunteer Fire Department. Without their quick response, damage to our school could have been a lot more severe. Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou!"

FIRE Unfortunately, we had a fire at Allandale School this evening. However, none of our learning spaces were...

Posted by Allandale School, Whakatane on Wednesday, 6 March 2019