KUCHING: Fire destroyed the hall of 131-year-old SMK St Teresa here yesterday, causing losses of up to RM1 million.
Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) personnel reached the site at 5.07pm and extinguished the fire at 5.42pm.
According to Sister Patricia Chan, she was about to leave the all girls’ school when the fire broke out.
“We were having our meeting at the convent building nearby when it happened. We could only think of saving precious documents from our archives,” said teary-eyed Chan, who was worried about the SPM exam starting Nov 7.
“The fire was wild, and I was terrified. The ceiling was falling to the ground, and it was a scary sight.”
She thanked Bomba for their prompt response in containing the fire so that it would not spread to nearby school blocks.
Principle Mary John said the hall was undergoing a major renovation to its roofing and ceiling at a cost of RM200,000.
She added that the exams had to be done in the classrooms now, not in the hall as planned.
“However, the hall housed our text book room and PA system equipment, which were totally destroyed.”
Also razed were tables and chairs inside the hall; they were recently donated by former students.
“I have yet to look at the staff room to assess the level of damage,” Chan said.
The rewiring of the hall was done in 2012.
Minister of Women, Welfare and Family Development Datuk Fatimah Abdullah, who had just returned from Dalat, rushed to the scene after being alerted.
“We will request the Public Works Department to assess the level of damage and ask for funds from the Education Department under the disaster fund to lighten the burden of this school,” said Fatimah.