Devastated parents and students crying as school ‘burns to the ground’ in massive fire


Despite the efforts of 50 firefighters, a large section of Ash Green Primary School in Halifax, West Yorkshire, was destroyed following a major fire on Tuesday night.

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Derek Barlow on the devastating fire at Ash Green School

Much of an elementary school has been reduced to ashes after a huge fire burned it to the ground.

Parents and pupils were left “devastated” and “in tears” following the devastating fire at Ash Green Primary School in Halifax, West Yorkshire, on Tuesday night.

Fifty firefighters battled to bring the inferno under control but were unable to save the roof of the school, Yorkshire Live reported.

A 19-year-old man, who was found at the scene by officers, remains in custody after being arrested on suspicion of arson.

The man was also taken to the hospital for treatment on Tuesday.

Gazing at the destruction on Wednesday, parents whose children currently attend the school and former students spoke of how the fire has devastated an entire community.

Former student Valerija Balinskaite, 18, said she collapsed after hearing the news.

A roof of one of the buildings was completely destroyed
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Image:

Huddersfield Examiner)

“I was crying,” he said.

“It was horrible. I live just a five minute walk from the school. I saw a video of the fire and it broke me. I have so many happy memories of school.”

Grace Berry, whose seven-year-old daughter attends the school, said: “It’s devastating for the community.

“It is devastating for children and teachers to wake up under these circumstances.

“But it’s a strong community and I’m sure it will come together and come out ahead – these things tend to bring people together.”

Derek Barlow said the school is widely regarded as “iconic” in the local area, with many of the people who lived nearby gracing its halls when they were younger.

“My wife went there and I’ve had two children who have gone to this school,” he said. “It was a little heartbreaking to see him last night.

“My wife was sending me photos of that (the fire). She was very upset about it and the community is very upset about it, actually.

“The community is absolutely devastated by it, this school is iconic.”

Principal Mungo Shepherd said he did not know when teachers and students would be allowed to return.
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Image:

Huddersfield Examiner/MEN Media)

The director, Mr. Mungo Sheppard, said emergency services managed to save “quite a lot” of the building.

“I have no idea how quickly we can get back in,” he continued.

“We have completely lost four classrooms for our children in years 3, 4, 5 and 6. The direct damage from the fire has not extended beyond that, so we have been able to save a large part of our school.”

“It’s devastating for these kids. They’re crying because they can’t come to school today and they don’t know what they’re going to come back to.”

Mr. Sheppard added that some children may need to be educated elsewhere while repair work is being done on the school.

Calderdale Council Leader Cllr Tim Swift said: “It was heartbreaking to hear the news last night about the fire at Ash Green Community Primary School.

Grace Berry said the community was “devastated”
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Image:

Huddersfield Examiner/MEN Media)

“My thoughts are with all the staff, parents and of course the students who regularly attend this school.

“We know how much disruption our schools have faced during the covid pandemic, so it is particularly upsetting that Ash Green and the local community are now facing a new period of upheaval.

“The school is working hard to ensure children are well supported and plans are being put in place to minimize disruption to students as much as possible.

“We are working closely with the school to support this and help with the recovery process going forward.”

Ten fire trucks and an aerial ladder platform were used to douse the flames.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: “Inquiries into the fire at Ash Green Primary School in Mixenden continue today.

“A 19-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of arson is currently in custody.”

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the Calderdale District CID at 101, quoting registration number 1663 from February 1.

Information can also be provided anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.




www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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