Severe fire at infant school treated as arson

A severe fire at an infant school in Derbyshire is being treated as arson.

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) was called to the incident at Ravensdale Infant School in Mickleover at 1.38am on Monday.

It was the second blaze the county’s firefighters were forced to deal with in three days after a fire at St Mary’s Catholic Voluntary Academy in Darley Abbey on Saturday.

Derbyshire Police said there was “no evidence” to suggest the two incidents were linked, but it has “not been ruled out”.

Ravensdale Infant School fire
Ravensdale Infant School fire

DFRS sent 12 fire engines and two aerial ladder platforms from across the county to the infant school, as well as a command unit, water carrier and welfare unit.

There were no casualties as a result of the blaze – but the fire service said it had caused “extensive damage” to the building.

Police Superintendent Sarah McAughtrie said: “Following the joint fire investigation at Ravensdale Infant School being completed, it has been found that the fire was set deliberately.

“A team of detectives have been working over the last 36 hours conducting house-to-house inquiries and undertaking CCTV trawls of the area and these inquiries continue.

“With the news that the fire was deliberate, I would like to make this direct appeal to the public of Derby – someone out there has information about the person responsible and I would urge them to come forward in confidence.”

Derbyshire school fire
Derbyshire school fire

Ms McAughtrie continued: “The investigation into the incident in Darley Abbey is ongoing and, while there is no evidential link between the two incidents, this has not been ruled out.

“The two fires have understandably had an enormous impact on the local communities and our thoughts are with all those affected at this time.

“I am sure there are people in the local area who will have information that will be key to understanding what occurred at both incidents and I would urge them to come forward.

“Also, while there is no evidence of wider risk to schools or other premises in the city, extra patrols have been put in place in order to reassure our communities and I would urge anyone who is concerned to speak to officers in your area.”