Fire guts Christchurch classrooms


Video: Geoff Sloan 


A Christchurch school has been forced to close after fire gutted classrooms.

Four fire crews were at Russley School on Cutts Rd after the blaze was reported about 7.10am today and the school is now closed..

A Fire and Emergency New Zealand spokesman said the fire was "well-involved" when crews arrived at the scene.

Russley School deputy principal Jane Rush said they had been told the fire was "substantial".

"The classes damaged were senior classes. At this stage the school is closed, and we will be discussing how long it will be closed with the Ministry of Education today."

Kelly Dugan, who lives about 10 houses down from the school noticed the smoke coming from the building after 7am this morning and initially thought it was a house fire.

“Unfortunately there are lots of kids standing around dressed for school and I guess they are coming home”.

Teacher Chris Walker said: "Russley kids are pretty resilient, as a school we have some great support. We will just adapt and move the kids around. We've bounced back before. We're just absolutely grateful it happened before school."

A parent of a pupil who is at the scene said they have been told the fire was near the office building.

"We just saw a big cloud of smoke come across from the direction of the school. I am just so pleased it didn't happen during school hours."

Cutts Rd, between Woodbury and Bentley St was closed but reopened about 8.45am.

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