Oldhams School target of fire yobs yet again
9:03am Thursday 28th February 2013 in News
ARSONISTS have struck again, setting fire to a derelict primary school.
Firefighters were called to the former Oldhams Primary School in Astley Bridge after the inside of the building was set alight.
Crews from Bolton Central, Bolton North, Farnworth and Eccles spent more than three hours trying to control the blaze and save the building.
But a third of the former school, which is set to be bulldozed in the next four to six weeks, was damaged beyond repair in the blaze at 8.20pm on Tuesday.
Vandals have targeted the site several times in the past few months and residents have been calling for the arson hotspot to be demolished.
Watch manager Ted Andrews, from Bolton North Fire Station, said: “The fire was started inside the boarded-up school deliberately by persons unknown.
“We saved two thirds of the building but one third is inhabitable. We were there for three-and-a-half hours. We used an aerial appliance.”
Cllr Hilary Fairclough, who represents Astley Bridge, has been calling for the building to be demolished for months.
She said: “I was informed only on Monday that planning had been approved for the demolition of the building and it should be carried out in the next four to six weeks. For me it couldn’t come soon enough.
“These fires are happening far too regularly for us to wait any longer. I am sure residents will feel a lot safer once that building is down.”
The building has also been used as a base for Starting Point, a “school” for new young international arrivals, but it has been empty and boarded up for nearly a year.
A person was arrested on suspicion of causing the fire, but was released without charge.
A police spokesman said: “The cause of the fire is not known but it is it was started deliberately. A joint investigation between GMP and the fire service will now be carried out.”
Anyone with information should call the police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
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