A two-storey building has burnt to the ground and three students missing as fire ravaged an inner city primary school.
The fire, suspected to be from an electrical fault, struck an art building at Carlton End Primary School at around 1pm.
Rescue crews arrived on the scene within minutes and frantically undertook the safe evacuation of 22 students, playing near the entrance of the building.
Station officer Wiliam Short said when the brigade arrived, the firemen were overcome with smoke.
Two fire officers are recovering in hospital from smoke inhalation. One fireman, Michael Jones, has been taken to the Royal Children’s Hospital with burns to 50% of his body.
School principal Herbert Scollo has contacted the parents of the missing school children who are still unaccounted for.
One has since been found, whose parents called the school after he had returned home from lunch without warning.
The other two are yet to be accounted for.
“While truancy is on no level to be encouraged, I am hopeful the missing boys will return home soon. We have tried to contact their parents to no avail. Our thoughts are now with the fire officer who risked his life to ensure the safety of students who is now in hospital in what I believe is a critical condition.” Principal Scollo said at a press conference held by Victoria Police.