Page last updated at 11:29 GMT, Sunday, 13 December 2009

School badly damaged in huge fire

Fire crews at the scene
Investigations are under way to establish the cause

An investigation has started into the cause of a huge fire which destroyed half of a school in South Yorkshire.

More than 60 firefighters tackled the fire at Campsmount Technology College in Norton near Doncaster after it was reported at 0130 GMT on Sunday.

The fire service said the gymnasium, library and a number of classrooms had been saved, but the rest of the school was virtually gutted.

The school has now been closed until after Christmas.

Additional crews from West Yorkshire and Humberside were called to assist South Yorkshire firefighters at the height of the fire.

There's an awful lot of twisted metal, there's an awful lot of ruined classroom equipment
David Chandler, fire service

Richard Chandler, area manager for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said the fire rapidly spread throughout a large part of the school.

"We were looking at flames up to about 100ft into the air, a thick black smoke plume probably rose up to 300ft into the air."

Mr Chandler said the fire had now been put out and about 40% of the school premises had been salvaged.

'Sad state'

"As you can imagine any premises involved in such a fire always looks absolutely devastated, particularly when the morning sun rose this morning.

"There's an awful lot of twisted metal, there's an awful lot of ruined classroom equipment and probably across quite a large part of the site, there's very little apart from the steel structure that stands.

"However, because of the professionalism of the crews that attended, we were able to save the new gymnasium fully intact, the library and resource centre and also a number of classroom and teaching rooms.

"I would have to say the rest of it is in a very, very sad state, on the borders of being gutted."

Chair of governors David McEwan said: "We're having to close the school now for Christmas a week early and we will be speaking to the local authority to see where we go from here.

"All parents and their children should stay away from the school."



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