Police investigate school fire BLACKENED: The charred building at Yorkshire Martyrs school.
A DISUSED school has been destroyed by fire.
More than 100 firefighters battled the ferocious blaze in the three storey block at Yorkshire Martyrs Catholic College, Tong.
Emergency services were called at 2am on Tuesday.
The cause has not been confirmed but it is thought to be arson.
Wakefield fire station manager David Teggart said investigations were continuing: “We can’t say whether it was started deliberately. At its height there were 15 appliances and more than 100 firefighters.”
He said the fire was so fierce that firefighters had to stand almost 10 metres away while hosing down the building.
Tuesday’s strong winds had helped as they directed flames away from other buildings.
The school, which sits on the Birkenshaw border, closed last summer.
Half the site was originally St Margaret Clitherow Grammar School for girls, and the other half was Cardinal Hinsley Grammar School for boys taking in Catholic pupils from the Spen Valley. They then amalgamated to become Yorkshire Martyrs Catholic College when it became a comprehensive school.
A spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Leeds said: “Our sympathy goes out to all those who studied and/or worked in this college over its lifetime.
“If it is proved that this was a deliberate act, then we hope that the people responsible are brought to justice and given time to contemplate their irresponsible, selfish and costly acts.
“It is only this July that the last students left the college and preparations were being made to offer the buildings on the open market for sale. We would like to thank the emergency services and all those involved in putting out the fire.
“In the meantime the diocese will work to safeguard the property and work with all local authorities to see that positive results can arise from this situation.”
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Weather for Cleckheaton
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 7 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: North east