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Devastating fire hits Duxford C of E Community Primary School




A devastating fire has hit Duxford C of E Community Primary School.

The fire at Duxford C of E Community Primary School on July 31, 2020
The fire at Duxford C of E Community Primary School on July 31, 2020

About 50 firefighters tackled the blaze on Friday evening.

They were called at 8.26pm and the final crew stayed late until 5.30am on Saturday once the fire was out and the scene was safe.

Crews from Cambridge, Gamlingay, Huntingdon and Ramsey, along with firefighters from Saffron Walden in Essex, Newmarket in Suffolk, and from Royston and Baldock in Hertfordshire attended the incident.

The fire at Duxford C of E Community Primary School on July 31, 2020
The fire at Duxford C of E Community Primary School on July 31, 2020

A Cambridgeshire Fire and Resceue Service spokesperson said: “Firefighters arrived to find a well-developed fire in a single storey building used as a primary school.

“Wearing breathing apparatus they extinguished the fire using hose reels and jets and checked the area for hot spots using thermal imaging cameras.”

An investigation is now under way into the cause of the fire, which is not yet known.

Pictures show substantial damage to the buildings of the school.

The school said: “We are absolutely devastated to confirm that the entire pre-school has been gutted by a fire, leaving nothing but a couple of walls behind.

Fire crews at the scene of the blaze at Duxford C of E Community Primary School on July 31, 2020. Picture: Cllr Peter McDonald (39655202)
Fire crews at the scene of the blaze at Duxford C of E Community Primary School on July 31, 2020. Picture: Cllr Peter McDonald (39655202)

“The school classroom next door has also been gutted, but thankfully the fire was stopped from going much further into the school.

“We will be in touch with our families as soon as we have more information to share but we have already been contacted by the local authority to confirm that they will support us with new temporary premises for September which is a huge relief.

“Obviously there is much to do between now and then, but we are thankful that the council sent someone out to speak with us and the school this evening.

“We will be talking with Ofsted and our insurance company tomorrow and will start the process of rebuilding our wonderful pre-school ready to welcome our families back just as soon as we can.”

Cllr Peter McDonald, a South Cambridgeshire district and Cambridgeshire county councillor who represents the area, told the Cambridge Independent: “The building is 60 years old and the work of many staff and parents to create a thriving pre-school and early years has been undone in two hours. It’s a tragedy in a community sense, although nobody was hurt.

“The state of the building is conspiring against police and fire entering to investigate. The county council and South Cambs District Council will do all we can to help.”

During the blaze, he tweeted that he was “so sorry” for everyone associated with the school, and thanked the fire and rescue services for their response.

A crowd gathered outside as the firefighters fought the flames, but were advised to keep well clear.

One former pupil who saw it said: “This is so sad.”

A drone was sent up by fire crews to examine the blaze.

Villagers have already begun to talk about raising funds to help pay for rebuilding work.

Another resident described the scene as “heartbreaking”.

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