Classroom devastated by blaze

LESSONS were continuing as normal today despite a fire that devastated a classroom at an Ipswich school.Caretaker Graham Denness was doing his regular morning checks at Murrayfield School, in Nacton Road, when he discovered a Year 5 classroom full of thick black smoke.

LESSONS were continuing as normal today despite a fire that devastated a classroom at an Ipswich school.

Caretaker Graham Denness was doing his regular morning checks at Murrayfield School, in Nacton Road, when he discovered a Year 5 classroom full of thick black smoke.

He called the fire brigade and headteacher Di Gooding was alerted to the fire which is thought to have been smouldering for some time before it was found shortly before 7.30am.

Mrs Gooding said: "When the caretaker came in at about 7.15am he could smell something but thought it was perhaps the heaters coming on because the smell was not that strong.


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"He went round the school and unlocked everywhere as normal and when he came to that classroom he couldn't see in the windows. He thought the teacher had put something up over them.

"He soon realised something was wrong and when he opened the door he found the room was full of smoke."

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Two fire crews were called to the school and the fire was out in about 20 minutes. However, by this time one end of the classroom had suffered severe fire damage and everywhere else was smoke damaged.

Classes were able to continue as normal, however, with new books and pencils proved for the pupils who used the room, who were moved to a spare classroom.

Mrs Gooding said: "Fortunately we've been able to go ahead as normal. We have a small group using the other room in the mornings so they are now in the library. The class whose room has been damaged have been moved into that room.

"We've managed it with a bit of shuffling and staff have been brilliant making sure there are enough books and pencils."

"Inevitably, a lot of stuff has been damage," she added. "A lot of things are still there but very smoke damaged.

"A lot of books that were part of the library have been destroyed. That's where the worst damage was.

"It's not so awful that the children are going to be very effected though."

Parents dropping their children at the school were told of the fire and not to worry. And at morning assembly Mrs Gooding told the children about it.

She said: "The children have been very good. I spoke to them this morning and they were very calm and sensible as I explained that it could have been worse.

"I told them that the good thing was no one was hurt and they weren't here when it happened. We can replace everything in there but we couldn't replace them."

Investigations into what caused the fire have begun and the council has made making the classroom usable again a priority. It is hoped that the class will be able to move back into their room before the end of term.

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