Skip fire threatened Biggleswade school buildings

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Prompt action by Bedfordshire Firefighters prevented a serious fire at a Biggleswade school yesterday afternoon (3 July).

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue received a number of calls at around 4.47 yesterday afternoon after a fire broke out in a builder’s skip at Edward Peake Middle School, Biggleswade.

A smoke alarm alerted those at the school who called the Fire and Rescue Service and as smoke rose from the blaze members of the public also alerted the Service to the incident.

Firefighters tackled the fire which had spread from the skip to 10 square meters of building material adjacent to it.

The fire was behind the school near a classroom and a computer suite but while the building did become smoke logged firefighters effectively prevented the flames from catching the building alight restricting damage to the exterior. After battling the fire for half an hour the crews extinguished it and spent some time on the site damping down the embers.

Station Commander Alan Gayter said: “This was a good example of crews catching a fire before it could spread to the building. Their quick action prevented a much more serious incident from occurring. While some of the building was affected by smoke we checked that the fire spread was only to the outside of the building.

“The fire started in a builder’s skip and then set alight building material next to it. Quick action by the school authorities helped us to get to the scene swiftly and enabled us to effectively protect the buildings. I’d like to congratulate the fire crews on their rapid attendance and quick thinking when they arrived. I would advise those with building works underway to have their skips kept away from the side of buildings.”

Headteacher Zoe Linington thanked the fire service, saying: “This could have been so much worse but thanks to the prompt actions of staff in raising the alarm and the speedy response from the fire service, it has caused inconvenience rather than disaster. We are very grateful to the fire crews.”

No children were on the site.

The cause of the fire was accidental. There were no casualties and the incident was closed at 6.11pm.

Two of the crews were retained or on-call Firefighters from Biggleswade and Potton Community Fire Stations. If you’d like to give something back to your community why not see if you have what it takes to become an on-call Firefighter – more information is on the website