SAFETY FIRST: Evans Head Fire Brigade members John Plenkovich and Avan Christie talk to the children about the fire that nearly engulfed their preschool the night before.
SAFETY FIRST: Evans Head Fire Brigade members John Plenkovich and Avan Christie talk to the children about the fire that nearly engulfed their preschool the night before. Contributed

Santa’s helpers save pre-school

SANTA was abandoned at the Evans Head Christmas Carols on Wednesday night by his firefighter escorts when they were called to a small blaze at the local preschool.

"We had just delivered Santa to the Carols by Candlelight at the surf club when we got the call and we had to leave him there," Evans Head fire brigade captain Ralph Lohse said.

"In fact it was lucky the carols were on as someone who had left them early was driving past and saw the smoke.

"Another five minutes and they could have lost everything."

Preschool director Allyson Cuskelly knows how lucky they were to have escaped an inferno.

"It was our educator Denise Williams who drove past and noticed the light flickering outside," she said.

She thought she'd heard crackling so she went back to check and that's when she saw the smoke.

The fire had started from an electrical fault inside the roof which had been replaced at a cost of $25,000 only two years ago.

The firefighter returned to the preschool yesterday to explain to the children what had happened and give them some pointers on what to do in a fire.

"It was only a week ago the firies did a talk with the kids," Ms Cuskelly said.

"So it was good for them to come back and explain again just how important it is to be able to call 000 if there is a fire."

Many of the children were relieved to know that their paintings were safe, but a few were concerned about how Santa got home after the carols.

"One of the children suggested that he called his reindeer and that's how he got home," Ms Cuskelly laughed.

"Each year, instead of the staff giving each other presents we donate to a charity.

"I think this year we'll be donating to Evans Head Fire Brigade."



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