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Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 10:59 GMT
Arson fears after school fire
Wheldon Comprehensive, Nottingham
Nearly 100 firefighters tackled the flames
A fire which badly damaged a school in Nottingham may have been started deliberately.

Fire crews say there have been up to 20 reports of arson at the school since September.

A fire investigation team has arrived at Wheldon Comprehensive School in the Carlton area after firefighters managed to put out the flames on Monday.

More than 1,000 pupils and staff have been told the school will be closed until the New Year and it is feared a lot of school work has been lost.

The students work cannot be replaced

Callum Orr, headteacher

Callum Orr, headteacher at the school, said: "I am devastated.

"I cannot imagine the feelings of the staff who have been here for 25 years, some of them 30 years, whose whole lives have been committed and devoted to this school.

50-foot flames

"But it is actually the work inside the building , the students work, the artwork on the walls, the work that is on computer systems and so on, that cannot be replaced or it will take a long time to replace."

Council workmen are cordoning off the school site and it is feared the buildings affected will need to be knocked down.

More than 100 firefighters were sent to the school on the outskirts of Nottingham.

Witnesses said flames could be seen 50 feet above school buildings.

The school's three-storey main block, including the library, was engulfed in flames.

The Carlton Forum Leisure Centre, which is next to the school, will also be closed after firefighters pumped its two swimming pools dry to fight the flames.


Click here to go to Nottingham
See also:

16 Dec 02 | England
14 Nov 02 | Education
24 Oct 02 | England
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