Blaze at derelict former Langley Preparatory School believed to be arson
- Credit: Archant
A blaze which broke out at the derelict former site of Langley Preparatory School in Thorpe St Andrew is believed to have been arson.
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene around 9.20pm on Sunday and were dealing with the incident throughout the night.
All crews have now left the scene, at Beech Hill off Yarmouth Road, after being scaled back at around 2am, when it appeared the fire had been fully extinguished.
Two pumps- from Earlham and Carrow - and an aerial ladder platform, remained at the scene to provide a watching brief until around 7.30am.
The buildings has been derelict since Langley moved off the site in July 2016 when the school merged with Taverham Hall Preparatory School at the latter's 100 acre grounds in Taverham.
Around 40 firefighters were tackling the fire at its peak, and nobody was believed to have been inside at the time.
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The fire had taken hold inside the old school building on the site, and did not spread to any adjacent structures.
Watch manager Kevin Flaxman, of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, said they had been called to the building before to smaller fires.
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'It is pretty obvious what happened,' he said.
'There has been a forced entry around the rear of the property, they have prised a door open and gone in through a first floor window.
'Other crews have been here previously to smaller fires.'
He added the isolation of the building meant the alarm was not raised until the flames were 'fairly well developed in the first and second floor'.
He estimated damage spread to around 40pc of the building.
'Due to the fact it is isolated and no one saw it earlier, that allowed the fire to develop,' he said. 'We got the initial call to Yarmouth Road when someone saw the smoke.'