Valerie Amy Winehouse
22 August 2016, 08:08
An investigation's started into what caused a major fire at The Academy school in Selsey.
Stacks of dense, acrid smoke were seen from miles around as 14 fire engines and up to 100 firefighters were on teh seen.
The fire is believed to have started in the roof space just before 8am on Sunday before quickly spreading through large parts of the school amid winds of around 25mph.
More than 60 calls were received to West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.
In an effort to protect neighbouring homes, including some thatched properties, a small number were evacuated.
Other locals were told by emergency teams to keep their windows shut and stay indoors as black smoke poured from the building.
A West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: ``We rule nothing out but at this stage there is nothing to suggest it was arson.''
The Kemnal Academies Trust, which runs The Academy, said its priority was to allow pupils to return to school as soon as possible.
A trust spokesman said: ``The fire services are continuing to control the fire and secure the area. The cause of the fire is unknown and we are therefore unable to provide further comment on this.
``The safety and welfare of our pupils, staff and communities is of utmost importance and we are working closely with the emergency services to ensure this happens.
``Our priority is to ensure that the children of the Selsey Academy can return to school as soon as possible.''
West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith said: ``Our thanks as always go West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service crews for dealing with the blaze at Selsey Academy so promptly and efficiently.
``They remain on site at the moment.
``This was an extensive fire and we know that the level of damage has yet to be properly assessed, although we anticipate it will be severe.
``We will be working with the headteacher at Selsey Academy and the Kemnal Academies Trust to support pupils, parents and staff.
``Our top priority will be ensuring that pupils and parents know where they will be based from the start of the new school term in September.''
Pic from Selsey Football Club