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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2006, 12:45 GMT
Boy held as blaze wrecks school
Fire at Airedale High School
Flames leapt hundreds of feet into the air at the height of the blaze
A 15-year-old boy has been arrested after part of a secondary school in West Yorkshire was destroyed in a suspected arson attack.

More than 100 firefighters tackled the blaze at Airedale High School in Crewe Road, Castleford, on Tuesday night.

Police closed off surrounding roads as the upper school's main hall was engulfed in flames. People using the nearby sports hall were evacuated.

The boy was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday and remains in custody.

Police and fire service investigators will return to the scene on Wednesday in an attempt to determine the exact cause of the fire.

Previous fire

A Wakefield District Council spokeswoman said the 1,133-pupil school would be closed for the rest of the week to all but year seven (11 to 12-year-old) pupils.

A West Yorkshire Fire Service spokesman said the upper school's main hall, dining area, offices and special needs rooms were "significantly damaged" and the rest of the school was damaged by smoke.

Nobody was injured in the fire and the neighbouring lower school escaped damage.

The lower school had previously undergone a 1.25m revamp in 2003 after a fire. The cause has never been established.

In a statement, headteacher Paul Frazer said: "Staff are very positive and morale is good at the school.

"We have been through this before and have procedures in place so we are confident there will be minimum disruption to the students."




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