Investigation after school fire

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a small fire broke out at a school in Suffolk last night.

Lizzie Parry

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after a small fire broke out at a school in Suffolk last night.

Members of the public were evacuated from Orwell High School, in Maidstone Road, Felixstowe, when the alarm was raised during an open evening at about 8.20pm.

More than 300 people attended the open evening, including prospective parents and students from across Felixstowe, local residents and ex-students.

The fire alarm sounded at 8.20pm - just 10 minutes before the end of the event - and after a calm and orderly evacuation a small fire was discovered in one of the toilet cubicles.

Headmaster Peter Tomkins said the fire was suspected to be “malicious” and police were investigating.

Most Read

He said: “There were lots of people here and anybody could have got into the building and started it.

“We always make our open evening accessible to anyone who wants to see how a successful school works.

“Students and their parents from across Felixstowe attended, as did other members of the local community and past students.

“It was an excellent evening and it was a pity that the evacuation meant that some students had to leave before they'd had a chance to see everything.”

Fire crews from Felixstowe attended and located the fire in one of the toilets.

Mr Tomkins said the school had made their CCTV footage available to police.

He added: “The fire evacuation was orderly and everybody got out of the building safely. The fire had virtually gone out by the time the fire brigade arrived.”

John Barker, chairman of the governing body, said: “Obviously being open to the whole community does leave the school vulnerable to malicious attack.

“During the school day the security locks are in place and the school is not accessible. A number of schools have suffered from malicious fires and we are grateful that this was a minor fire causing minor damage.”