Pupils at a fire-ravaged Scots school are set to return as normal after the Easter holidays following a mammoth effort to make the area safe.
Emergency services were called to the scene at Helensburgh’s Hermitage Primary, in Argyll and Bute, at around 5am on Tuesday after members of the public raised the alarm.
Powerful flames could be seen tearing their way through the annexe building, which has since been partially knocked down.
Police Scotland say early indications suggest the blaze was started deliberately and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.
Fire crews remained at the scene for several hours dampening down the historic building.
In a letter to parents, Wendy Brownlie, head of education at Argyll and Bute Council, confirmed children should be returning as normal on Tuesday April 19.
She said: “We are saddened to see the historic building at Hermitage Primary destroyed by fire on Monday evening, a police investigation is underway.
“Our Education, Property, Building Standards and Health and Safety services are all involved in assessing and progressing action needed now that the fire is out.
“This has included arranging for demolition of the annexe, which began on Tuesday evening.
“By Tuesday, 19 April the demolition will be complete and the process of sorting and removing debris will be underway.
“The demolition site has been fenced off and police and private security are watching the area. Please ensure you and your family stay safe by staying away from the site.
“We are pleased to confirm that Hermitage Primary School staff and pupils will be able to return to Hermitage Primary, as planned, on 19th April.
“The Grant Street gate will remain shut and the area of playground closest to the annex will also be fenced off to allow the already planned roof works to be completed.
“Heavy vehicles will be operating in the area to remove debris and we ask that you avoid bringing a vehicle to school.
“However, if you need to bring a vehicle to drop off and pick up please park extremely carefully and avoid Grant Street.
“Until further notice all pupils should use the front gate on East Argyle Street for both drop off and collection. (This includes bicycles and scooters).
“I would like to thank your Headteacher Elspeth Davis and your janitor team for their ongoing support in ensuring staff and pupils are able to make a safe return to the building.”
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call Police Scotland via 101, quoting incident number 0362 of 12 April, 2022.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be given anonymously.
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