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14-year-old charged over fire that ripped through high school

More than 80 firefighters tackled the ‘large and complex’ blaze overnight at Woodmill High School in Dunfermline.

The blaze at Woodmill High School is being fought by more than 80 firefighters (Euan’s Emergency Photography/PA)
The blaze at Woodmill High School is being fought by more than 80 firefighters (Euan’s Emergency Photography/PA)

By Douglas Barrie, Conor Riordan and Benjamin Cooper, PA

A teenage boy has been charged after more than 80 firefighters worked overnight battling a “suspicious” blaze at a high school in Fife.

Fifteen fire appliances attended the “large and complex” incident at Woodmill High School in Dunfermline, along with two height appliances, after the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) was called at 5.05pm on Sunday.

Crews remained on the scene well into Monday morning as the flames spread through the building.

There were still 10 fire engines and a height appliance, alongside several support vehicles, remaining at the school site around midday.

The school, located about 20 miles north-west of Edinburgh, announced it would be closed to all pupils on Monday.

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The fire has made its way to the main bulding after starting in the Department of Additional Support (Euan’s Emergency Photography/PA)

Police Scotland said a 14-year-old boy has now been arrested in connection with the blaze, which it is treating as suspicious.

He is due to appear at Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

A message on the school’s Twitter account by rector Sandy McIntosh said: “We are all utterly devastated by what has happened to our school.

“I will be meeting with our teachers and school staff this morning, along with staff from the Education Service and wider Fife Council to put in place plans for our young people.

“My heartfelt thanks go to the emergency services for all they have done to save our school.

“Updates will be provided to our parents through groupcall as soon as we have more information. School closure information will be updated on Fifedirect.org.uk.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney also said: “Terribly sorry with the news @WoodmillHigh. @scotgov has been in contact with @FifeCouncil and will discuss next steps. Good wishes to all in the school community at this tough time.”

It is too soon to say how badly damaged the school is, or how long it will need to remain closed. Fife Council co-leaders

David Alexander and David Ross, co-leaders of Fife Council, said: “This is a very sad day for Dunfermline and Fife and the school community of Woodmill High School are understandably devastated.

“It is too soon to say how badly damaged the school is, or how long it will need to remain closed.

“We’d like to reassure our pupils and their families that it is an absolute priority for us to get them back in school as soon as possible.

“We’d like to thank the firefighters from SFRS for their tireless work to bring the fire under control last night and all morning.

“We are so grateful to them for their dedication. Thanks also to Police Scotland officers who have also worked through the night to keep everyone safe.

“Thankfully no-one has been injured but our thoughts are with the staff, pupils and families as they come to terms with what has happened.”

No casualties have been reported. Monday is not a bank holiday in Scotland.

Roddie Keith, SFRS local senior officer, said: “This was a complex incident and our crews worked through the night in challenging conditions to contain this fire and prevent further spread within the building.

“Through effective planning, they surrounded the fire and extinguished the flames.

“However we will remain in attendance for some time yet as we check for any hidden fire spread and also work to dampen down any remaining hot spots.”

He added: “Our advice remains that members of the public should avoid the area to allow access for emergency service vehicles.”

PA

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