The fire at the old Port Kembla school was ‘‘a massive inferno’’, according to a witness.
Luke Doering, who lives about a block from the school and took several photos of the blaze, arrived home from work just after midnight this morning to find a police barricade across the road.
He decided to try and get a closer look at the fire and ended up in a small street that runs around the back of the school.
There, just 50m from the fire, he took the photos posted above.
‘‘It was a massive inferno,’’ Mr Doering said.
‘‘The whole roof was on fire, the entire roof. It had definitely been well alight for quite some time before I got there.
‘‘I would say everyone was probably in bed and didn’t see or hear or smell anything until it broke through the roof - because all the windows are boarded up with timber.
‘‘So by the time it’s poked it’s head through the roof, this place was well alight. There was plenty of heat, even back where I was standing - it was a big fire.’’
Mr Doering said he had already had a look at the burnt-out school this morning.
‘‘There are a couple of chimneys on the school,’’ he said.
‘‘All you can see now is the five chimneys standing. The whole roof has collapsed and there’s just a shell on the outside.’’
After the fire was brought under control in the early hours of this morning, police established the school as a crime scene.
Fire investigators were examining the site this morning.
At this stage the cause of the fire is unknown but is being treated as suspicious.