Firemen battle blaze at historic school building
FLAMES were seen to leap 20 feet into the air as an historic school building was gutted by arsonists.
The Old School House in Postland Road, Crowland, near Peterborough, was ravaged by fire at 4.30am yesterday.
Dozens of firefighters from Lincolnshire and Peterborough were called to try to save the 154-year-old building near St Guthlac School from the blaze.
Despite the fire, the school was able to open as normal yesterday because the Grade 2 listed building, built to house the town’s junior school in 1856, has not been used for the last three years.
Brian Haines, who lives a few doors away from the building, said he and his wife were woken by the sound of fire engines.
He said: “We dashed through to the front bedroom and could see flames leaping about 20 feet into the air above the roof of the Old School House.
“It was well alight and the fire crews were working furiously to get some water onto the inferno as soon as was practically possible.
“I threw on some clothes and shoes and grabbed my camera and made my way outside.
“A fireman and firewoman were directing a jet of water onto the front roof of the old school which caused huge clouds of smoke to billow down into the road.
“The jets of water were so fierce that they were blowing the tiles from the roof like confetti.”
An investigation by Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service found that the blaze had been started deliberately.
A spokeswoman for the fire serv- ice said crews were on the scene for more than seven hours as they brought the fire under control and made the scene safe.
The blaze was so fierce that two crews were brought in from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue to help them.
Councillor Bryan Alcock, who represents the Crowland and Deeping St Nicholas ward for South Holland District Council, said: “There has been a lot of speculation about what caused the fire. There is a large hole in the roof but that is all I know. It has been derelict for a number of years.”
Anyone with information about the arson should contact Lincolnshire Police on 0300 111 0300 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
drama: Firefighters use a turntable ladder to extinguish the fire at the Old School House in Postland Road, Crowland. (METP-07-06-10PF016)