DAMAGE DONE: Fire has destroyed the industrial arts block at Orara High School.
DAMAGE DONE: Fire has destroyed the industrial arts block at Orara High School. Bruce Jacups

Principal vows school will recover after fire

THE principal of a high school damaged in a suspected arson attack has vowed the community will work together to overcome the setback.

Fire destroyed Orara High School's industrial arts block on Saturday afternoon causing around $100,000 in damage.

Coffs-Clarence Crime Manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson said an intruder alarm was activated at 12.15pm, and there was evidence of forced entry to the school's perimeter fence.

"We are treating the fire as suspicious - there's a significant amount of damage that's been caused and we're calling on the community to assist us in to identify the culprit(s)," Insp Jameson said.

Quick action by firefighters prevented the blaze from spreading to other parts of the school but extensive water and smoke damage was caused to surrounding classrooms.

Indicative of the strong community spirit, staff and students arrived on scene to offer their assistance.

As classes resumed on a modified timetable on Monday, the school's principal Manfred Sonntag said the school community was united in its response.

"Students, parents and staff of the Orara High School community are completely devastated that their school has been damaged by fire," Mr Sonntag said.

"We want to let the people of Coffs Harbour know that our great school community is resilient and will work together to overcome this setback.

"Everyone at Orara will be working together to ensure that the high standard of care and tuition for all our students remains the same.

"We would like to sincerely thank the Coffs, Sawtell, Urunga and Woolgoolga fire services, including Hazmat and rehabilitation, the police and the paramedics who attended and kept the fire damage to a minimum."

Anyone who may be able to assist with inquiries is asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.



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