Student smoking area’s ‘lack of ashtrays’ to blame for last week’s fire at Berri Regional Secondary College

A fire set ablaze a classroom last week at Berri Regional Secondary College, causing over $80,000 in damages. The local fire department was quick to act, and managed to prevent the fire spreading to other buildings. A thorough investigation was immediately started to find out the cause, and the fire investigators believe they have discovered the cause of the fire.

“We’ve discerned that the fire started from the student smoking area, next to the tech room,” Fire Chief Ashley Button stated.

“The fire started from a cigarette butt that wasn’t properly extinguished. Upon further investigation of the student smoking area we learnt that an inadequate number of ashtrays were provided. With the new campus hosting students from grades 7 to 12, there’s a lot more potential smokers, and we need to make sure they have the facilities to safely dispose of their cigarettes,” Fire Chief Ashley Button continued.

The Berri Regional Secondary College’s administration has been notified by the fire department, and a formal warning has been given to them regarding the breach of fire safety code.

The fire safety code regarding student smoking areas at schools states that there must be an adequate open area away from flammable materials and dry vegetation, and enough ashtrays for proper cigarette disposal. The old Glossop High School middle campus met this legal requirement with the smoker’s bench, while the new Berri campus failed to do so. This lack of a proper smoking area and insufficient number of ashtrays led to students not being able to dispose of cigarette butts safely, causing the fire.

The Riverlanderer will update as this story develops.

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