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Fire puts school to test

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

Regular fire drills paid off for Carterton School yesterday after fire broke out in the hall kitchen.

Pupils had been making fried bread when oil in the pan caught alight.

Carterton School principal Alison Woollard praised both pupils and staff, who promptly evacuated the Holloway St grounds at the sound of the alarm.

“It was near the beginning of play time so it wasn’t as if all the children were in the classroom with their teachers.

“They all needed to know what to do and where to go, and they did.”

When the Carterton Fire Brigade arrived, most of the fire had been put out by a teacher using a dry powder extinguisher.

“It was good that everything worked as well as it did,” Mrs Woollard said.

“It’s about knowing what the procedure is should anything like this happen.

“I have reminded parents in the newsletter that it’s something we need to do at home as well.

“You can’t always stop unexpected things happening but we need to be as prepared as we can be.”

In her “30-something-year” career in education, this was Mrs Woollard’s first school fire experience.

Carterton deputy fire chief Bryan Styles said the school had done everything “by the book”.

“No one was in harm’s way. They did everything right, so nobody was injured.

“They didn’t try to throw water or anything silly like that on it.

“They had an extinguisher there which they put it out with, and then they shut the door and got out of the place.”

Mr Styles said the smoke had been contained to the kitchen, and it had not taken the brigade long to fully put the fire out.

“There was no damage to the building. The fire didn’t spread any further than inside the pot.”

The only damage had been to the stovetop itself, as well as some scorch marks left on the kitchen’s ceiling.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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