Arson attempt at Tolaga Bay Area School

Principal calls for witnesses after fires cause toilet block damage.

Principal calls for witnesses after fires cause toilet block damage.

Tolaga Bay Area School. File picture

SOMEONE tried to start several fires around Tolaga Bay Area School overnight on Thursday and shocked principal Nori Parata is calling on anyone with information to contact police.

Three fires were lit in the toilet block near the school netball courts and there were signs in two or three other areas of the school that unsuccessful attempts had been made to light fires.

“The caretakers called me about it at about 7.30am yesterday morning, so it happened sometime overnight on Thursday,” Ms Parata said.

“One of the fires lit in the toilets caused signficant damage to the walls of one of cubicles and there is also smoke damage to the whole block. Two other small fires had also been started there by setting toilet paper alight.”

Fortunately all the fires went out before they could take hold. Ms Parata said the incident was “obviously very disappointing and annoying”.

“We are just about to start the new school year on Tuesday and now we have to repair the damage in the toilets.”

Arson attempts in other areas of the school caused minimal damage. Ms Parata believes the fire-lighting incident was linked to the free wifi access available in and around most of the school, including the carpark outside.

“Often people come to the school to connect to it and we don’t have a problem with that.

“However, if we are going to get this kind of behaviour, then we will have to cut off access to the wifi out of school hours.”

Ms Parata said empty alcohol cans and dope-smoking equipment had also been found around the grounds on occasions.

“If anyone knows anything about these incidents, or has seen people on the grounds at night, please let us or the police know.”

Tolaga Bay police said people had been going to the school carpark to make use of the free wifi.

“There have been a few incidents of disorder and fighting lately outside the school but it seems to be just one or two spoiling it for everybody,” a police spokesman said.

Ms Parata agrees.

“Whether the wifi stays accessible for the community or not is up to everyone and their behaviour.”

SOMEONE tried to start several fires around Tolaga Bay Area School overnight on Thursday and shocked principal Nori Parata is calling on anyone with information to contact police.

Three fires were lit in the toilet block near the school netball courts and there were signs in two or three other areas of the school that unsuccessful attempts had been made to light fires.

“The caretakers called me about it at about 7.30am yesterday morning, so it happened sometime overnight on Thursday,” Ms Parata said.

“One of the fires lit in the toilets caused signficant damage to the walls of one of cubicles and there is also smoke damage to the whole block. Two other small fires had also been started there by setting toilet paper alight.”

Fortunately all the fires went out before they could take hold. Ms Parata said the incident was “obviously very disappointing and annoying”.

“We are just about to start the new school year on Tuesday and now we have to repair the damage in the toilets.”

Arson attempts in other areas of the school caused minimal damage. Ms Parata believes the fire-lighting incident was linked to the free wifi access available in and around most of the school, including the carpark outside.

“Often people come to the school to connect to it and we don’t have a problem with that.

“However, if we are going to get this kind of behaviour, then we will have to cut off access to the wifi out of school hours.”

Ms Parata said empty alcohol cans and dope-smoking equipment had also been found around the grounds on occasions.

“If anyone knows anything about these incidents, or has seen people on the grounds at night, please let us or the police know.”

Tolaga Bay police said people had been going to the school carpark to make use of the free wifi.

“There have been a few incidents of disorder and fighting lately outside the school but it seems to be just one or two spoiling it for everybody,” a police spokesman said.

Ms Parata agrees.

“Whether the wifi stays accessible for the community or not is up to everyone and their behaviour.”

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