School reopens after fire

CCTV film was being studied by police today as they try to find out who caused a fire during an open evening at a Felixstowe school.

CCTV film was being studied by police today as they try to find out who caused a fire during an open evening at a Felixstowe school.

Orwell High was open as usual today after the incident in which hundreds of people had to be evacuated from the building.

Two fire crews dealt with the small fire in a cubicle in one of the boys' toilets.

Headteacher Peter Tomkins said the toilets were currently closed but thankfully the damage was minor and no-one was hurt.

“We will need to organise repairs - the fire service had to pull down the ceiling to check the fire had not spread,” he said.

“We have CCTV cameras in the school and we will be handing over the footage to the police.

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“I am sure the grapevine will be at work, too, today and there will be a lot of discussion among students and a few names will float to the surface to help catch those who did this.”

Mr Tomkins said it was hard to tell how many people had still been at the school's open evening and had to be evacuated - it was at least 300, and could have been 400 to 500.

“It was our open evening for prospective parents and their children to look round and we had invited everybody from the local community,” he said.

“Because of that doors were unlocked and lots of people were coming in and out. It's the only time of the year doors are not locked.

“It is annoying more than anything, but thankfully it was just ten minutes from the end of the evening and people had had a good look round, no-one was hurt and the damage was small.

“People also left the building calmly and orderly which showed our systems worked, although we wish we had not had to test them.”

The fire is suspected to be “malicious” and police are investigating.

Chairman of governors John Barker 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. We are grateful this was a minor fire causing minor damage.”

What do you think of those who caused the damage? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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