UPDATE: Public school will “overcome” devastating fire

A PUBLIC school is confident it can bounce back following a devastating fire last night.

Felsted School was left badly damaged after the blaze, which had to be tackled by more than 40 firefighters. The fire started at around 7pm on Sunday (July 15) in the roof and first floor of Follyfield House, where students attending Stafford House International Summer School were staying.

Headteacher Dr Mike Walker is travelling back from his summer holidays to oversee the situation.

In his absence, Chris Townsend, deputy head, said: “This is a sad event for the school, but one that we are confident we will overcome.

“We would like to thank the Essex Fire Service for their prompt action in attending to the incident. “The damage will be assessed over the coming days and parents, pupils and staff will be kept informed of any subsequent arrangements before the start of term, we intend to ensure that school will be open as usual in September.”

An investigation is now underway into what caused the fire.

Speaking on Sunday night, divisional officer Ray Skinner said: “We have been hampered throughout this incident by a poor water supply, we are using the high volume pump to get water from a lake around half a mile away.

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“Crews will be here throughout the night working to contain the fire and this will supply the many gallons of water they will need.

“Firefighters have been working extremely hard in difficult conditions. On arrival crews were faced with a large and well established fire which has spread inside the building which is now completely alight.

“Our work will continue here throughout the night and into the morning.”

A structural engineer was due to assess the integrity of the building at some point this morning.