Second school fire in two days

Date published: 13 August 2010

Fire-fighters attended a fire at Heywood Community High School last night (Thursday 12 August 2010) – the second fire in two days.

Three fire engines, from Heywood and Bury attended the blaze which was started deliberately.

On arrival fire crews where faced with rubbish, waste paper and clothes on fire in the gym of the disused school.

The school, on Sutherland Road, Darnhill, was closed this summer as it was considered surplus by Rochdale Borough Council.

However, a fire on Tuesday (10 August 2010) has raised concerns that the building is not safe.

Councillor Jacqui Beswick expressed concern about the security of the building following Tuesday’s fire.

Today Councillor Beswick said: “I am extremely concerned that this is still happening, when I questioned the last fire I was assured (by the council) that there would be 24 hour security at the school.”

A spokesperson for Rochdale Borough Council said: “We are currently in the process of pursuing our demolition contractor to pull down the school buildings starting this month (August). Having undergone an ecological survey – a legal requirement for all buildings planned for demolition - all but one is authorised to be demolished immediately.

“During the statutory ecological survey, bat sightings were discovered in one of the school buildings. Before this particular building can be pulled down the council must acquire a bat licence, which would allow us to place bat boxes around the immediate area so the bats can be re-homed and the building ultimately demolished. It is anticipated this will take up to 6-8 weeks, during which the remaining buildings will be demolished.

“Whilst the school buildings remain standing the council is working with a security firm to ensure the site is as secure as possible. Following this fire we have also arranged for damage to the security fence to be repaired and have increased the security to 24 hour cover.”

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