Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Police Quiz Boys after School Fire

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Police Quiz Boys after School Fire

Article excerpt


A HEAD teacher today pledged her school would rise "like a phoenix from the flames" after a suspected arson attack caused extensive damage.

Arsonists are believed to have sparked the blaze which severely damaged St Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School, in Tennyson Avenue, Grangetown.

One youth has been arrested and two more interviewed by detectives following the fire.

Seven fire engines, as well as a hydraulic platform from Middlesbrough and an emergency tender from Hartlepool, were alerted at 4pm yesterday after residents spotted flames.

The school was shut today as arson investigators sifted through the charred remains of the building.

Head teacher Sue Lemmon, who has been teaching at the school for 13 years - seven of them as head - today spoke of her devastation, but determination not to let it affect her pupils' education.

She said: "All one side of the school has been gutted and I think there may some structural damage.

"Two classrooms have been badly damaged, along with the school hall. The classes were used by children aged from four to six.

"I can't believe something like this could happen to our school. The school is closed today, but we will find somewhere else for the children to have lessons.

"We will get a message out to parents through the media to keep them informed.

"We will rise like a phoenix from the flames."

She added: "We are all devastated and the children are gutted, as are their parents.

"We're a good school and had an Ofsted in the summer which deemed us outstanding.

"We have two weeks until the half-term holiday, but before then we will do what we can to ensure our children's education continues. The fire brigade and police are coming back today to carry out a thorough examination."

Grangetown Fire Station Watch Manager Chris Coverdale said: "I believe the incident started at about 4pm. …

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