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Suffolk: Arsonists cause a third of school fires, figures reveal

11:09 26 November 2012

The blaze rages at the former Castle Hill Middle School in Haverhill

The blaze rages at the former Castle Hill Middle School in Haverhill

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One third of fires at schools in Suffolk were started deliberately, shocking figures have revealed.

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Figures revealed following a Freedom of Information request showed that in the last three financial years there were 21 fires, with seven started deliberately.

County Upper School, in Bury St Edmunds, has been the scene of two deliberate fires while the other secondary school blazes involved Thurston Community College and Mildenhall College of Technology.

The figures also highlighted three deliberate fires at Suffolk’s primary schools – Kessingland Primary, Downing Primary in Ipswich and Heath Primary in Kesgrave.

Mark Sanderson, assistant chief fire officer for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The impact of school fires is significant, not just in financial terms, but also in terms of the effect on the communities they serve, the environment and the disruption to students, teachers and families.

“Sprinklers are considered as part of a risk assessment at the design stage of building a new school or the refurbishment of existing buildings. Where fitted, they reduce the effects and seriousness of a fire.”

Earlier this year, fire crews were sent to a blaze at the former Castle Hill Middle School site, in Haverhill.

More than 50 firefighters tackled the massive fire in June, which was started deliberately.

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