KUCHING HIGH SCHOOL
(SMK Kuching High)
Sekolah Menengah Kuching High, Kuching (SMK Kuching High)
Kuching High School Fire on 2 December 2008
SMK Kuching High on fire
SMK Kuching High at Mathies Road lost a block to rubble and badly damaged its administrative block by a massive fire on 2 December 2008 afternoon.
The fire destroyed the two-storey partially wooden science laboratory block, which was built in 1974, as well as the adjacent two-storey administration block, built in the 1930s. This 76-year-old school is located in prime land the city centre.
No one was hurt in the fire, which was started about 1pm but was brought under control 40 minutes later by 50 personnel, assisted by four fire engines and three Rapid Intervention Motorcycles (R.I.M) units.
Forty one Fire Department Personnel from Batu Lintang, Tabuan Jaya, Petra Jaya and Padungan battled nearly an hour to contain the inferno. No casualties were reported in the 1.05 incident.
The fire was believed to have started at the ground floor of the block before spreading to its junior science labs above. Initial investigations showed that the fire could have been caused by a short circuit. The fire took only few minutes to engulf the entire three-story wooden block that was build in 1974.
According to school worker Mandra Jemali, he first saw smoke billowing out of a room used as schoolís Red Crescent Society on the ground floor. He then immediately contacted both the Civil Defense Department and Fire and Rescue Department.
However, the office clerk, teachers and security guards at the school managed to salvage some important documents and various equipments including heavy duty printers, computers, and some files before the building was brought down to asses.
Historical documents, students' belongings and computers were kept in the administration block while new textbooks for the coming new school year were kept in the science laboratory block. The SPBT text books for next year all destroyed.
Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination carry on as acheduled
Though yhe fire had razed two blocks of the SMK Kuching High, but has not hampered the school's fifth form 5 students from sitting for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination, which will be held as scheduled until 4th December 2008.
The students were not affected by the afternoon blaze because the classrooms used for the examination were far away from the burning blocks. These blocks were declared unsafe by PWD few months earlier
The science laboratory block was declared unsafe by the Public Works Department early this year. The block was unoccupied after being declared unsafe and the school board of management was still waiting for a grant from the Education Ministry to renovate it.
".....it could the work of desperate people who might have wanted the land but couldn't get it without strong resistance. the school's site is a prime land being located in the golden triangle of Kuching and adjoining a newly built 4-star international hotel...........(now) the site of the demised school would be bartered with a new site. ..... " Kuching High School Fire : History that is gone with the smoke
Kuching High School was formed in 1963. Formerly the Min Teck Junior Middle School established by the Teochew Association as early as 1916.
Min Teck Junior Middle School was closed in 1941 during Japanese Occupation in Sarawak. After the retreat of the Japanese in 1946, the school was reopened as Chung Hua Middle School, under the administration of a board of management consisting of 13 main associations in Kuching.
In 1958 this Chung Hua Middle School was renamed Chung Hua Middle School No. 2.
In the 1960ís, the Education Department of Sarawak introduced an optional programme to make changes to all the Chinese secondary schools. Following the implementation of this programme, all the Chinese secondary schools were included in the National Educational System. and the language of teaching and learning to be converted from Mandarin to English. Chinese subject remained as an important optional subject taught in school.
The Chinese School Board of Management decided not to accept Government Aids and all the Chinese schools were privately run without government aids.
Later on, some parents of the students from Chung Hua Middle School No. 2 took up the initiative to find ways together with the Teochew Association. They requested that Teochew Association take back the premise of this school from Chinese School Board and make it from Chinese private school to government-aided school.
The Teochew Association with the support of parents and consent of the Education Department, Teochew Association took take over the administration of this school and Chung Hua Middle School No. 2 in 1962 officially registered as SMB Kuching High
Just half a kilometer before KHS is the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan St. Mary's (SMK St. Mary), Kuching