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Video: Holy Child Primary School in Derry targeted in arson attack

By Claire Williamson

Published 05/04/2016

A fire at a primary school in Londonderry is being treated as a suspected arson attack.

The NIFRS were called to Holy Child Primary School at 9.20pm on Monday night.

The roof of the building in Central Drive Creggan was alight when crews arrived.

Six appliances attended the blaze.

Damage was caused to scaffolding and building materials as a result of the fire. Some damage was also caused to the school as a result of the incident.

A NIFRS spokesman said: "Firefighters using a thermal imaging camera, two jets and a short extension ladder dealt with a roof on fire of a single storey school building in the area.

“Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service finished at the scene at 10:30pm and the fire is being treated as deliberate.”

School principal Orla McDonnell told the BBC said: "We very nearly didn't have a school by the end of last night, but thankfully the fire service were here quickly."

"It was an horrific experience last night getting that phone call, driving up to the school, and wondering what you were going to be met with."

In a statement on the school's Facebook page it said the damage was limited and that the school would be open today as usual.

It said: "Many of you will know by now there has been a fire at the school this evening. I would just like to let everyone know that damage is limited and despite this terrible incident, Holy Child Primary School will be open tomorrow as usual. Should anything change there will be a text sent to parents.

"Holy Child stands by its motto: "Every Child, Every Chance, Every Day" so we will continue to do what we do so well!! The support of our parents is always a joy."

Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan attended the scene and said residents were angry.

At the scene of fire at Holy Child PS.afire seems to have been started on roof. Residents of Cregganvery angry.

— Mark H Durkan(@MarkHDurkan) April 4, 2016

Police are appealing for witnesses following the blaze.

Inspector David Anderson is appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or anyone who has any information that can assist with the investigation to contact officers in Strand Road on 101.

Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111

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