Firebugs have targeted the abandoned Macquarie Boys High School for the second time within 10 months.
Around 22 fire trucks were called to the disused school on the corner of Kissing Point Road and James Ruse Drive just before 4pm on Saturday after a two storey building of classrooms in the south eastern corner of the site erupted into flames.
“On route, we saw a large column of smoke coming from the site, so we knew it was a fairly significant fire,” Parramatta fire duty commander Inspector Kernin Lambert said.
“When crews arrived, the fire was in an advanced stage and spreading rapidly in both directions. There was a significant danger of the fire spreading to other disused buildings on the site.”
It took firefighters three hours to extinguish the blaze.
The cause of the fire is under investigation and is being treated as suspicious.
“The top floor of the building was completely destroyed,” Inspector Lambert told the Sun.
“It wasn’t an easy fire to fight as crews had to exercise a large degree of caution. Due to it being an abandoned site, there was a lot of debris such as smashed glass and hydrants on the site were in various stages of disrepair. Firefighters did an outstanding job in stopping what was a fierce fire from spreading.”
A 1500 square metre disused hall/gymnasium was gutted by fire at the derelict site last July. At the time, the Department of Education promised extra security patrols to ensure the site wasn’t further vandalised.
PARRAMATTA | #FRNSW f/fighters have gained the upper hand at abandoned school fire. Will remain on scene for some time though.— Fire & Rescue NSW (@FRNSW) May 20, 2017
Once populated by up to 800 students at a time, the school closed at the end of 2009 because of major reputation problems and low enrolments.
The Department of Education announced plans to sell the site after promises it would be retained.
Promises of a UWS facility called Lachlan Macquarie College specialising in maths and science never came to fruition.
The education department has been contacted for comment.
Anyone with information about the fire on Saturday is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1300 333 000.