Three youths to appear in court over school fire

Three young people have been caught after a suspicious blaze caused severe damage to an historic Kapiti Coast school last night.

A large fire at Paraparaumu School on the Kapiti Coast. Source: 1 NEWS

The fire at Paraparaumu School started around 7.15pm last night and caused extensive damage to four blocks of junior classrooms and a library.

"The three young people will appear in the Porirua Youth Court but that appearance date is yet to be confirmed," Detective Inspector George Faalogo says.

Investigators have conducted a scene examination at the school and police said they will will also continue other inquiries as part of the wider investigation.

"Police have been asked to advise the community that Paraparaumu School will be closed for the entire week with classes to resume next week While one of the buildings was destroyed, outer buildings are still intact which will enable the school and its teachers to welcome students back next Monday" Mr Faalogo says.

Principal Steven Caldwell says his main priority is for the future of the 160 pupils. He told TV ONE's Breakfast programme that it will be "very hard" on them, having lost a number of their classrooms.

While the loss of the buildings has been "devastating", Mr Caldwell says that a large number of photos from the school's long history have also gone up in flames.

Paraparaumu School is the oldest on the Kapiti Coast and preparations were underway to mark its 125th anniversary in November.

However, Mr Caldwell says that firefighters did a fantastic job at keeping the fire away from the most historical parts of the building.

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