Blowtorch work at school could have caused blaze

Fire at Brooklands Schools: Pics Beds Fire and Rescue
Fire at Brooklands Schools: Pics Beds Fire and Rescue

Contractual work is thought to have been the cause of a blaze at Brooklands Middle School, which saw staff and pupils evacuated yesterday afternoon.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service received a call at 2.53pm on October 20 and dispatched crews to tackle the fire, which was in a building’s skip adjacent to the school in Brooklands Drive, Leighton Buzzard.

Fire at Brooklands Schools: Pics Beds Fire and Rescue IfcRNc1lf3oPPdsyQkwj

Fire at Brooklands Schools: Pics Beds Fire and Rescue IfcRNc1lf3oPPdsyQkwj

Leighton Buzzard Community Fire Station were at the scene within six minutes, putting out the blaze as one contractual worker was treated at the scene for minor burns.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Works were taking place to the roof at the school and materials were being removed by the contractors using blow torches.

“These included felt and insulation, which were being put into the skip. It is possible that some of these materials could have been alight or hot and these could have ignited the rest of the contents.

“Before the arrival of fire crews the workmen did try and tackle the fire with extinguishers.”

Fire at Brooklands Schools: Pics Beds Fire and Rescue

Fire at Brooklands Schools: Pics Beds Fire and Rescue

Upon spotting the flames, the school had activated the fire alarm and a full evacuation safely took place, as the pupils were relocated to nearby Leedon Lower School.

Watch Commander Darren Chambers, said: “When the crews arrived six minutes later the skip was well alight and had spread to the fascia of the building, melting the UPVC window frames and causing heat damage to the exterior.”

Damage was caused to the windows in two classrooms, with no damage to school property or to children’s belongings.

An aerial platform from Luton and an Operational Support Unit from Bedford were also sent to help battle the blaze.

Access to the school was not allowed until 4pm, so children were not allowed to collect their coats and bags until today (October 21), when lessons resumed as normal.

Headteacher, Julie Hodgson, said: “We are pleased to report that pupils and staff were evacuated safely and quickly.

“We are extremely proud of the way the pupils evacuated the school and they are a credit to us and their parents.

“We would like to thank friends at Leedon Lower School for helping us all and the parents for their support.”