On Sunday 25th March this year, a primary school fire occurred
in the Leigh area of Manchester.
The primary school fire was reported to the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service at around 11 am. The blaze ripped through the main building and completely devastated the Westleigh Methodist Primary School’s main hall.
Four fire engines including a hydraulic platform were called to the scene due to its height and severity. Cordons for the surrounding locations were put in place for general public safety and people were warned to avoid the area.
Luckily, nobody was injured during the blaze. However, parents and concerned citizens have since been expressing their sorrow on social media over the damage done by the fire to the ‘good’ Ofsted-rated primary school.
It has since been reported that the fire which has been suggested as started by an electrical fault in the school’s solar panels. The solar panels were located above the school hall, fitted into the roof; it is believed that it was one of these devices that was faulty and subsequently set the primary school on fire. Moreover, witnesses of the fire reported seeing the solar panels alight at the time of the incident.
Furthermore, Chris Roberts, fire station Manager declared that an investigative officer has since inspected the blaze. Roberts reported that the “fire burn patterns and determined that the source of the fire was at roof level
“Examination on the inside of the main hall found charring on the top of the wooden beams which were situated under the roof of the building which would only occur if the fire was above the beam”.
It has been reported that the fire’s heat was so intense that the solar panel wiring was also burned away. This, therefore, left fire investigators no indication of how the electrical fault may have occurred.
The school has been closed until further notice as a result of the fire, including the preschool and nursery attached. However, the school is working to accommodate provisional classrooms in time for the next summer term.
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Original Sources: BBC | Manchester Evening News | The Bolton News