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Boy, 14, charged after fire rips through high school

The blaze broke out at Woodmill High School in Dunfermline shortly after 5pm on Sunday.

Dunfermline: Woodmill High School has gone up in flames. <strong>Euan's Emergency Photography</strong>
Dunfermline: Woodmill High School has gone up in flames. Euan's Emergency Photography

A 14-year-old boy has been charged after a blaze ripped through a Fife school.

The fire broke out at Woodmill High School in Dunfermline shortly after 5pm on Sunday.

More than 80 firefighters remained at the scene on Monday morning after working through the night in a bid to bring the flames under control. There have been no reported injuries.

The school will be closed to pupils for the rest of the week.

Fife Council’s co-leaders branded it a “very sad day” and said it was too soon to know how much damage had been caused or when the school might reopen.

Police Scotland confirmed that a teenager had been charged over the blaze and would appear at Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

Blaze: Firefighters worked through the night. Euan’s Emergency Photography

A force spokesperson said: “Police in Fife have charged a youth following a suspicious fire in Dunfermline.

“Officers attended, along with the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, to Woodmill High School following reports the building was alight.

“Firefighters continue to tackle the fire, however, as a result of inquiries conducted by Dunfermline CID, a 14-year-old male was arrested.

“He will appear at Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Tuesday.

“Officers would like to thank members of the public who came forward with information in relation to this incident, as well as those who provided the police and fire service personnel in attendance with refreshments during the extremely hot conditions they found themselves working in.”

Damage: The school went up in flames. STV

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said it had faced “challenging conditions” in their bid to stop the fire from spreading.

Roddie Keith, SFRS local senior officer, said: “This was a complex incident and our crews worked through the night in challenging conditions to contain this fire and prevent further spread within the building.

“Through effective planning, they surrounded the fire and extinguished the flames.

“However we will remain in attendance for some time yet as we check for any hidden fire spread and also work to dampen down any remaining hot spots.”

He added: “Our advice remains that members of the public should avoid the area to allow access for emergency service vehicles.”

On Monday morning, a message on the school’s Twitter account by rector Sandy McIntosh said: “We are all utterly devastated by what has happened to our school.

“I will be meeting with our teachers and school staff this morning, along with staff from the Education Service and wider Fife Council to put in place plans for our young people.

“My heartfelt thanks go to the emergency services for all they have done to save our school.”

Fife Council co-leaders David Alexander and David Ross said: “This is a very sad day for Dunfermline and Fife and the school community of Woodmill High School are understandably devastated.

“It is too soon to say how badly damaged the school is, or how long it will need to remain closed.

“We’d like to reassure our pupils and their families that it is an absolute priority for us to get them back in school as soon as possible.

“We’d like to thank the firefighters from SFRS for their tireless work to bring the fire under control last night and all morning.

“We are so grateful to them for their dedication. Thanks also to Police Scotland officers who have also worked through the night to keep everyone safe.

“Thankfully no-one has been injured but our thoughts are with the staff, pupils and families as they come to terms with what has happened.”

Aftermath: The school has been closed until further notice. STV

Due to the emergency service operation, Fife Council advised that those in the area could experience “low water pressure or no running water at all”.

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