Derelict school in Londonderry goes up in flames with 50 firefighters on scene – arson suspected

The rough area where the old school buildings lie (plus the current active college): image - GoogleMapsThe rough area where the old school buildings lie (plus the current active college): image - GoogleMaps
The rough area where the old school buildings lie (plus the current active college): image - GoogleMaps
Around 50 firefighters were dispatched to the scene of a fire at a derelict school building in Londonderry during the night.

A call was made shortly before 11pm last night to alert the fire brigade.

Six fire engines and another five specialist vehicles were summoned to the scene.

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The site is close to Oakgrove Integrated College on the eastern banks of the Foyle, which operates on a newly-built campus.

The fire is concentrated in the school’s old abandoned buildings which stand nearby, unoccupied.

Specifically the blaze consumed a large two-floor red-brick Victoria-era building (which before being a school is believed to have been part of a mental asylum).

The roof of the building was on fire, and the firefighters remained on the scene until late morning today, dampening down the area.

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There is no electricty to the building, so fire fighters have ruled out the blaze being caused by a fault.

There were also no fire alarms.

Group commander Jonathan Tate said: “Early indications are this was a deliberate fire, and police are investigating.

“I suppose there’s never a good outcome to a fire like this, but the fact is we were able to keep it to the area where it started to try to preserve the heritage that’s there.”

The PSNI said a 17-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl were arrested on suspicion of arson and they both remained in custody this morning.

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Chief inspector Jonny Hunter said: “I am appealing to anyone who has information about this fire to call us on 101, quoting reference number 2117 of 20/06/20.”

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