Selsey Academy becomes latest school to be destroyed by fire

21 Aug 2016

A major fire has reduced a secondary school in West Sussex to a skeleton.

More than 75 firefighters tackled the height of the blaze at Selsey Academy as huge plumes of black smoke spread across the town.

The fire broke out about 08:00 BST, with more than 60 calls being made to Sussex Control Centre.

The fire, now under control, could be seen clearly from Selsey Football Club, which tweeted footage of the flames.

People in the vicinity were advised to stay clear of the smoke, remain inside and keep their windows closed, but crowds gathered to watch the firefighting effort.

Dr Chrissie Tizzard, who lives opposite the school, said she saw "plumes and plumes of black smoke towering above the house, rather like an apocalypse".

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service sent crews to help West Sussex colleagues and South East Coast Ambulance Service was also at the scene.

Sussex Police said an officer directing traffic at the scene was taken to hospital after being hit by a Vauxhall Corsa at low speed. His injuries are not believed to be serious.

Chairman of governors Bill Emerson said the school was devastated.

"There is a possibility we might be able to save a small section of the school and the emergency services are doing their best to do that," he said earlier.

"But it is amazing how quickly the fire has spread.

"It's shocking. The structures are effectively a skeleton now compared to what they were and we have still got fire raging in sections."

He said it was too early to say how the blaze began.

He added: "It's the only secondary school in the peninsula and it is going to be devastating to the community.

"There are contingency plans in place to make sure the children can pick up their GCSE results and to make sure we can provide education to children when they start the school year."

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