Arson attack at Macksville High

FIRE chiefs say an arson attack at Macksville High School on Thursday night could have been disastrous.

Macksville Fire Station commander Bill Lenthall said intruders had grabbed six 60-litre plastic rubbish containers from the schoolgrounds, hauled them on to the roof of a second storey art classroom and set them alight.

“We found 12 handles up there and that’s how we realised six bins had been put up there,” Mr Lenthall said.

Fire crews were called to the scene at 10.30pm and arrived to discover flames billowing from the roof.

Firefighters fearing widespread damage initially called for back-up from Nambucca Heads and Urunga brigades but they were later stood down.

“There was only damage to a small area of the roof,” Mr Lenthall said.

“In the classroom below there was a lot of smoke but once we got in there and ventilated it, everything was okay. A cleaner gave us access to the room.

“The fire could have been much worse. It looked really serious when we first saw it.”

Mr Lenthall said it was not known if accelerant was used to light the blaze.

Fire crews were at the scene for about 90 minutes and were supported by police and paramedics.

Mr Lenthall also said the resident who had rung him to alert him to the fire should have instead dialled 000.

School principal Paul Holding said police were now doing extra patrols in the area. He also said the fire followed two minor incidents involving trespassers at the school in recent weeks.

Mr Holding said roof sheeting may have to be replaced where the fire took hold.

Call Macksville police on 65 681044 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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