Cape Town – Pupils and teachers at the Holy Cross Primary School in Zonnebloem were reeling in shock after a fire destroyed a newly renovated library yesterday.
The Liyabona Library was named in honour of a school pupil Liyabona Mbaba, who died in a taxi crash in August.
It is not clear what started the blaze which broke out after midday.
Recently, the Chris Otto Foundation started renovations at the school to accommodate a “dream library”, said foundation spokesperson Karen Breytenbach.
She said a teacher was injured while rescuing a Grade R boy hiding behind the door of a burning classroom.
“We are devastated by the fire. The library was nearly set to be launched with a small party as the final touches were being done to it,” Breytenbach said.
School principal Nomthandazo Zweni said: “I am very sorry, I cannot speak now. We are very traumatised and I’m not in a good space.”
A lot of love and hours were put into the project, said Breytenbach.
She urged the public to donate navy or black school backpacks and stationery as all 35 Grade R pupils lost their school bags and stationery in the fire.
Chris Otto Foundation project manager Nonikiwe Mashologo said: “We are very sad that the library was lost but we will start from scratch again.”
Three classrooms and a computer lab were also destroyed in the blaze.
ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said a metro officer helped with evacuation at the school but had suffered smoke mild smoke inhalation.
“The officer was treated and thereafter transported to a nearby private hospital for further treatment,” Meiring said.
City Fire and Rescue service spokesperson Theo Layne said eight fire engines and 27 firefighters were dispatched to battle the blaze. At the same time, three helicopters and 14 firefighting vehicles were dispatched to a fire on Kloof Nek Road.
To donate to the Chris Otto Foundation NPO, e-mail [email protected] or call 021 224 0892.