A fireman, Michael Jones, 25, suffered severe burns to 50 per cent of his body following the outbreak of a school fire at Carlton End Primary School between 1pm and 2pm today.
Mr Jones was taken to the Royal Children’s Hospital and remains in a critical condition.
A two-storey art room was completely burnt down. Fellow station officer William Short said the room was filled with smoke and that “Jones had only been in the job for a couple of months. This is a tragic blow to the brigade, not to mention his family. I believe his wife is to give birth to their first child shortly.”
Twenty two children playing near the entrance of art-room were safely evacuated while three students had been unaccounted for. The school has been able to contact one of the parents who said that their child had unexpectedly returned home for lunch and the boy has said that his friends went to the local pool.
“While truancy is on no level to be encouraged, I am hopeful the missing boys will return home soon… Our thoughts are now with the fire officer who risked his life to ensure the safety of students who is now in hospital in what I believe is a critical condition,” said principal Mr Herbert Scollo.
Two other fire officers in hospital for smoke inhalation.
The cause of the fire is unknown but it is suspected to be an electrical fault.