Fire which tore through derelict school building being treated as arson
- Credit: Archant
A fire which tore through a derelict former school over the weekend is being treated as arson by police.
On Saturday afternoon, firefighters were called to a blaze at the former Langley Preparatory School site off Yarmouth Road in Thorpe St Andrew, and worked through the night to tackle the flames.Firefighters were not able to leave the scene until around 10.15am on Sunday morning, having been first alerted shortly after 3pm on Saturday.
And today, Norfolk Constabulary has confirmed it is investigating the blaze as a suspected arson, with a neighbour describing their garden as having been filled with embers and smoke across Saturday evening.
The man, who lives on nearby Tower Hill but did not wish to be named, said: “As we were downwind of the fire we got surrounded by thick, noxious smoke, with ash and embers coming into our garden.
“At one point we just had to leave the house it was that bad - but because of the lockdown we just ended up sitting in our car until we could go back.
“We heard banging and shouting from the site Friday evening which we reported to the police, so it was a little frustrating that not 24 hours later the building was on fire.”
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It is not the first time the former preparatory school, which has been vacant since 2010, has fallen victim of a fire. In 2018, a similar blaze tore through the building, though an arson investigation was closed without any further action taken.
The neighbour added: “It is frustrating to live so close to a building which has just been left to derelict - it has become a constant worry and something needs to be done with it. Anything would be better than just leaving it prone to trespassers and arson.”
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A spokesman for Norfolk Constabulary said: “We are investigating a fire that happened at the former Langley Preparatory School site off Yarmouth Road in Thorpe St Andrew on Saturday evening (November 21, 2020).
“The fire is currently being treated as arson. We also received a report of anti-social behaviour at the site on Saturday, November 21. Enquiries are ongoing.”