Teenager arrested over school arson

A 13-YEAR-OLD boy has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a blaze that threatened to engulf a Suffolk upper school.

Dave Gooderham

A 13-YEAR-OLD boy has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a blaze that threatened to engulf a Suffolk upper school.

Police said the teenager was arrested on Wednesday in connection with the Boxing Day blaze at Great Cornard Upper School and Technology College.

The fire in the music classroom scorched the exterior of the main building and fire chiefs said the entire school could have been destroyed were it not for quick-thinking locals who spotted the flames.

Severe smoke damage was caused to the building, but fire investigators said it was only emergency calls from members of the public and the swift action of firefighters involved in the operation to quell the flames that ensured the school was not reduced to ashes.

The drama began when a timber shed next to the music block was set alight.

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Speaking at the time, firefighter John Bromley said the school had been “within minutes" of being partially or completely destroyed by fire. “This was as close as it gets,” he added.

And Insp Paul Crick, of Sudbury police, said: “Arson is always treated as a serious offence and people who start fires are dangerous individuals who may well end up causing someone serious harm.”

Peter Beer, chairman of Great Cornard Parish Council, said: “If it had been worse it could have caused big problems locally.

“But hopefully the music department will cope as music is a strong subject at the upper school.”

The arrested boy, who cannot be named because of his age but comes from the Sudbury area, has been released on police bail and is due back at Bury St Edmunds Police Station on January 29.