College in Rarotonga destroyed by fire for 2nd time

A fire at Nukutere College in Rarotonga, the Cook Islands’ only Catholic secondary school, has destroyed five classrooms, three resource rooms, a science lab, the tuck-shop and a store.

This is the second time in 8 years that the College has been damaged by fire.

Approximately two thirds of the College teaching space and most of the resources have been destroyed.

The fire was reported at 1am on Saturday 19 October. The Cook Islands News reports fire services were unable to respond immediately, because, as happened at the time of the first fire, three aircraft were arriving at the Rarotonga International Airport at the same time, and the fire appliances were required to be on the tarmac.

A second fire was reported at Avatea School in Nikao just after 4 in the afternoon.

Authorities are investigating to find out the cause of the fire, but at this stage there is no indication of how the fire started.

The Cook Islands news reports the government has committed to rebuilding the classrooms in time for the start of the new school year.

The Finance Minister Mark Brown says he will look at bringing in outside help like forensic scientists to determine if the fires were the work of arsonists.

On the 6th Feb 2006 a fire started under a classroom block destroying two thirds of the teaching space at Nukutere College. Within six months the block was rebuilt with financial assistance from NZ Aid, and tremendous local support and other N.Z assistance.

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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