Shed fire raises sprinkler concerns
A SHED full of school furniture burned to the ground while firefighters struggled to find a water hydrant.
The fire at Garden Fields school thought to have been started deliberately destroyed chairs, tables and paper supplies as well as the shed where they were being stored. Some nearby climbing equipment was also damaged by the flames.
White Watch was called to the blaze just before 8am on Tuesday morning but initially could not find a water hydrant.
The hydrant was eventually located 250 metres away from the burning shed behind the main school building.
Children arrived at the school to find fire engines on the grounds but the fire had already been extinguished and lessons ran as normal.
However, the school expects to make a substantial claim for the damage to the shed and its contents and is waiting for a report from the police officers investigating the cause of the fire.
Deputy Headteacher Pete Rose said: "At the moment we have got no idea of the cost, but I expect it will be a big claim.
"We will be talking to fire officers and police about what is expected now and reviewing the security of the school."
The incident at the school in Townsend Drive, , comes just days after schools' insurers Zurich Municipal relaunched its appeal for compulsory sprinklers in schools.
According to research carried out by the company, the cost of fires totalled £84m in 2004. None of the schools hit by a large fire was fitted with a sprinkler system and less than 200 systems are fitted in the 30,000 schools across the UK.
Larry Stokes, underwriting manager at Zurich Municipal and chair of the Arson Prevention Bureau's school's working group, said: "Sprinklers are 99 per cent effective in controlling fires.
"Losses from fires in buildings with sprinklers are estimated to be just one tenth of those in unprotected buildings, resulting in minimal damage and disruption."
The company has launched a new guide to fire prevention for teachers called Protecting our future Looking after our schools.
3:10pm Friday 24th June 2005
|More Stories By This Author
'We all need to make changes'
Pub keeps its food local
Computer group voices fears
Also by this author ...