DEVASTATING: Fire burned for several hours at Dalby State School.
DEVASTATING: Fire burned for several hours at Dalby State School. Mick Doyle

SCHOOL FIRE: Mayor pays tribute to united spirit

UPDATE 1.45PM:  Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh has paid tribute to the Dalby community for its support in the wake of the school fire.

The town is expected to turn into a sea of blue on Friday, with a fundraising concept started at Dalby South State School spreading beyond the schoolyard.

For a gold coin donation, the community is encouraged to wear blue and help raise funds for the Dalby State School recovery effort.

Cr McVeigh said the initiative was a credit to the Dalby and wider region for its collaboration and compassion in the wake of the fire.

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"It's just phenomenal," Cr McVeigh said.

"It's a tragedy for the whole region, with 150 plus years of history.

"People are offering buildings, dongas, the coffee shops have free coffees and Friday is going to be a blue day.

"The whole community is quite feeling it, and it's an iconic school."

Cr McVeigh said the biggest blow to the school was the loss of the administration building where records were stored.

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He paid tribute to principal Mona Anau and staff for their dedication and commitment to the school, and the impact the fire had on residents.

"This was a heritage listed school that has been destroyed, and the main administration building," Cr McVeigh said.

"The community is really upset about it.

"The leaders in our community now were educated at that school so it is a long standing (institution)."

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Cr McVeigh said State Education Minister Kate Jones had personally phoned him on Anzac Day to offer support as the school is rebuilt.

The Department of Education will announce later today if the school will reopen tomorrow.

EARLIER, 8.30AM: Dalby State School will remain closed today after a devastating fire tore through a number of buildings yesterday.

The campus will remain an active crime scene with investigators to return today, working to determine the cause.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services crews were called back to the Cunningham St campus after embers began smouldering about 9.30pm Tuesday, and quickly controlled.

Principal Mona Anau said arrangements would be in place for any students dropped off at the school.

"The decision to close was made in the interests of student, staff and community safety," she said.

"It will also allow emergency services teams to continue their assessment and investigation of affected areas.

"I have arranged for a number of staff to be on site this morning to ensure that any students who arrive at the school can be returned home safely.

"This is devastating for us but our school is one of the hubs of the Dalby community and we are resilient and strong."

Ms Anau urged the community to be vigilant in reporting anything suspicious to authorities.

"Schools are important community assets which need to be protected," she said.

"We would ask for the community to continue to be our eyes and ears and report any suspicious activity they might have seen and report it to the police or contact the School Watch hotline 13 17 88.

"The Department of Education and Training will work with the Department of Public Works and Housing in the clean-up of the site.

"This will include safety measures and monitoring."

Offers of support and stationery donations have poured in following the fire with a number of Dalby businesses making special offers to the school aid fund.

Dalby South State School will hold a free-dress day on Friday, with students urged to wear the colour blue to school and make a gold coin donation.

Proceeds will go towards the Dalby State School rebuild.

Stellarossa Dalby will donate all proceeds of sales today to the fund, taking to social media last night to tell the community.

"As we are aware the community is suffering from the Dalby State School fire," the post on Facebook read.

"Nev and Nathan from Stellarossa Dalby have decided to donate our entire day's profits from all coffees and cold drinks sold in our store (today) back to the school as a cash donation.

"We will also have a cash donation tin in store for those that want to give a little extra.

"This will allow the school to purchase much needed items."

The Chinchilla News, the sister paper to the Dalby Herald, is also running as a drop-off point for donations of stationery goods.

The office at 12 Mayne St will open from 8.30am.

 Let us know what other businesses and organisations are rallying to help the Dalby State School rebuilding effort by emailing news@thechronicle.com.au


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