College suffers sixth fire in just two years

PUBLISHED: 15:17 22 November 2006 | UPDATED: 10:01 31 May 2010

POLICE are refusing to rule out foul play after a fire wrecked a meeting room at a language college in Saffron Walden at the weekend. The blaze occurred in a downstairs room close to the main reception area at Bell International in South Road just before

POLICE are refusing to rule out foul play after a fire wrecked a meeting room at a language college in Saffron Walden at the weekend.

The blaze occurred in a downstairs room close to the main reception area at Bell International in South Road just before 4pm on Sunday afternoon.

And Saffron Walden Fire Chief Paul Curtis is concerned as it is the sixth fire on the premises inside two years.

"This is a definite cause for concern as there have been half a dozen suspicious fires there now in the last 18 months to two years," he said.

"There's been car fires, skips on fire, a blaze in the laundry room and some combustible material was set alight and put underneath a window which caused some damage.

"On Sunday, we were called at 3.50pm and two engines attended the scene but the fire had already been put out by some of the staff who had used a couple of carbon dioxide extinguishers.

"We were told that the fire was in a dormitory but we discovered it was actually in a non-residential part of the building when we got there."

Paper and cardboard which had been stored in the room caught alight and extensive damage was caused to a desk and a wall was scorched.

Nobody suffered any injuries and the ambulance service was not called.

Saffron Walden Sgt Naomi Burrows said: "We cannot rule out the possibility of foul play and the fire is being treated as suspicious.

"The fire started in a cardboard box and then spread across the room, damaging furniture and the wall.

"Our investigations are ongoing and we are not calling for any witnesses as the fire happened internally.

"The fire and rescue service has carried out all of the investigations they need to do and ours are continuing."

Bell International declined to speak to the Reporter this week.

* CREWS were called to a fire in the town centre on Monday night when a Clavering man's car caught fire and prompted the closure of three roads.

The gentleman was travelling along Hill Street after collecting a takeaway when smoke began to enter his silver Volkswagen Golf at about 8pm.

Paul Curtis said: "The smoke was coming from the engine compartment and I suspect it was a fuel leak, which is usually the case."

Sgt Burrows said Market Square and King Street were also closed for about 45 minutes until the fire was extinguished and the car towed away.

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