Derby school fires: Second school damaged within 48 hours

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image copyrightDerbyshire Fire and Rescue Service
image captionThe fire has destroyed classrooms at the school

A second school in Derby has been damaged by fire within 48 hours.

The blaze broke out at Ravensdale Infant School, in Mickleover, in the early hours of Monday.

The school has described it as a "severe fire" in their infant department and has asked people to stay away from the site.

On Saturday morning a "devastating" fire destroyed a large part of St Mary's Catholic Voluntary Academy, in Darley Abbey, Derby.

image copyrightDerbyshire Police
image captionDrone shots captured the scale and extent of the fire

There were no casualties in the latest blaze and Derbyshire Constabulary said it was "too early to make any links" between the two fires.

Head teacher Lorna Blanchenot said: "Feeling devastation, concern and shock and a whole host of emotions.

"It is just hard to get your head around at this stage. It looks awful, not good at all.

"We are really grateful for all the community support but wondering what else 2020 can throw at us. We've definitely had enough now."

image captionFirefighters now have the blaze under control

Becki Pacey has a daughter at the nursery school and a son at the junior school.

"[My daughter] had just started to get used to going and now we don't know where we are, it's quite upsetting," she said.

"They've all had so much time off so it's very worrying how much this is going to impact them again."

Eyewitness Geoff Bye, whose house backs on to the school, described the blaze as a "big inferno".

"The flames were easily 30-40ft high," he said.

image copyrightGeoff Bye
image captionFire crews were alerted to the "severe fire" at about 01:40 on Monday

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said it received a call about the fire at about 01:40 BST.

It said 12 fire engines and two aerial ladder platforms from across Derbyshire are in attendance.

Area manager Clive Stanbrook said the fire was now "under control" but large parts of the infant school have suffered "extensive damage".

"Tragically this is the second school fire in Derbyshire in less than 48 hours, with St Mary's School in Darley Abbey being destroyed by a severe fire on Saturday morning."

image captionCrews are still at the scene

Gavin Tomlinson, Derbyshire's Chief Fire Officer, is calling on the government to make it mandatory for all new build and refurbished schools to be fitted with sprinklers.

He said "Sprinklers are one of a range of fire safety measures that would not only protect our schools from fire and prevent injuries, but they would also protect against costly rebuilds and of course, protect against the stress and anxiety caused to the children who need their education."

Investigations into the cause of the fires at both schools are ongoing.

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