Fire­men bat­tle blaze at his­toric school build­ing

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By STEPHEN BRIGGS

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.

Pic­ture: Paul franks.

drama: Fire­fight­ers use a turntable lad­der to ex­tin­guish the fire at the Old School House in Post­land Road, Crow­land. (METP-07-06-10PF016)

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