‘Electrical fault’ cause of school inferno



Ten classrooms have been completely destroyed in a morning blaze at Wesley College, an elite private school in Melbourne’s south-east.

The blaze broke out at the Glen Waverley campus on High Street Road at about 5:15am.

The Melbourne Fire Brigade (MFB) confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that the fire was sparked by an electrical fault.

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More than a dozen crews are on scene and firefighters have since managed to bring it under control.

The co-educational Uniting Church school, known for its distinct purple uniforms, also has campuses at Elsternwick, and on St Kilda Road.

About 1,200 students, from early childhood to Year 12, attend the Glen Waverley school.

Wesley College said there had been damage to the junior school science laboratory and property damage in the middle school.

It asked students at the Glen Waverley campus not to attend school.

Authorities said the cause of the fire was not yet known.

The aftermath. Photo: ABC/Nine Network

Melbourne Fire Brigade Chief Officer Peter Rau said the fire was first noticed by a passer-by.

“Unfortunately there are about 10 classrooms have been completely destroyed and an atrium area,” he said.

“The firefighters here did a great job at preventing this fire from getting into other parts of the school.

“We believe it started in an atrium area that intersected the classrooms.”

School to ‘work hard’ to restore normality

Principal Dr Helen Drennen said it would have a big impact on students and their family.

“The students mainly affected will be those in Grades 5 and 6, but all students studying languages in the middle school and senior school will be impacted,” she said.

“Many, many people will be upset about what’s happened today but we are a very strong and positive community and we will work very hard very quickly to restore normality.”

Students’ work and teacher resources were among the losses.

Students anxious to get back to class

Tom Herron, a Year 11 student, said students were concerned about their belongings.

“I’m kind of worried I can’t go to school today. If everything will be alright to go to school for the next few days,” he said.

“Know one knows. [My friends] are worried about all our stuff.

“[A day off] means you’re behind on work, and that’s never a good thing,” Year 10 student Jamie Hobbs said.

“It’s a bit unusual. We’ve had plenty of [fire] drills but I never thought something would actually happen.

“We weren’t notified this morning, I checked my emails. I’m here for band, so that’s obviously not happening.

“I’ve got instruments there and belongings throughout the school so hopefully there’s not too much damage caused.”

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