ONE of East New Britain’s best stocked school library was destroyed by fire on Monday and the damage was estimated at more than K1 million.
The Malaguna Technical High School library in Rabaul town was gutted in less than an hour.
Firemen arrived at the scene 30 minutes after the fire was reported and were heckled by students and people at the scene.
Fire inspector Oliver Balbal said they received the alarm just as they were changing shifts at about 8.30am and were delayed by the deteriorating Kokopo-Rabaul road and the distance travelled to get to the school.
The fire was believed to have started in the computer lab before spreading to the entire library and eventually engulfing the adjoining staff room.
Grade 10 students had just assembled at the school hall to sit for their internal examinations while the Grade nine’s were into their first period of class when the alarm was raised from the room.
No one was in the library at that time.
Prompt action by InterOil’s Rabaul terminal manager, Jonah Kareu and his assistant Rodney Koman, stopped the fire from spreading to the nearby buildings.
They contained the fire with extinguishers before the firemen arrived.
An emotional school principal Eva Magaga thanked the InterOil staff for their help.
She said the school had lost more than K1 million worth of books of which had been purchased in preparation for the introduction of secondary status in the school next year.
Some of the books were bought from mv Doulos.