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Students turned away after blaze

PUBLISHED: 14:20 20 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:40 03 March 2010

MORE than 1,000 staff and students at a Suffolk college today were turned away today after part of the building was destroyed by fire.

West Suffolk College's art and design centre was gutted by the blaze.

MORE than 1,000 staff and students at a Suffolk college today were turned away today after part of the building was destroyed by fire.

West Suffolk College's art and design centre was gutted by the blaze.

The fire took hold of the single storey building in Risbygate Street in Bury St Edmunds at just after 10.30pm yesterday.

It is believed the fire started as a result of an electrical fault and damage was contained to the office area of the building which is used for teaching.

Nick Foster, principal of the college, said: "The fire has completely destroyed one office which has been gutted. There has been some smoke damage to an adjoining room but fortunately we have been very lucky as the result could have been a lot worse.

"The fire could have easily spread to other areas but our fire alarm worked very well and the fire brigade got here very quickly and contained the fire to a small area."

Fortunately no course work was damaged in the fire but desks, computers and photocopying machines were destroyed.

Martin Wagner, director of business and student services, said: "We believe the fire started as a result of an electrical fault. We will begin cleaning up today but Suffolk House and Edmund House is closed because of safety reasons as the fire alarm system is not working.

"We are very fortunate that our recovery plan went into action effectively and everyone did as they were supposed to do."

Suffolk House and Edmund House is expected to re-open tomorrow for Saturday's school.

Three crews from Bury St Edmunds and Ixworth attended the blaze and it took firefighters more than an hour to bring the fire under control.

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