Dozens of brave firefighters who spent several hours tackling a major fire at a Northwich high school have been praised for their tireless efforts to salvage vital equipment belonging to students.
A 55-year-old man has appeared in court on an arson charge following the ferocious fire at University of Chester Academy High School (UCAN) in the early hours of Sunday morning (February 25) which more than 50 firefighters worked to put out.
The blaze caused a substantial amount of damage to the building, but by working closely with the school’s Principal, Cath Green, firefighters were able to salvage vital equipment from the building, which happened at one of the most crucial stages of GCSE students' development.
Incident Commander Paul Binyon from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “On arrival at the scene it became apparent that this was a serious fire which had already caused substantial damage to the building.
"The firefighters who attended this incident worked tirelessly to bring this fire under control and as a result of their hard work, dedication and teamwork they were able to protect a large amount of equipment from the building using a variety of salvage techniques.
“Hopefully, this will help to minimise the impact that the incident has on pupils at the school, many of whom are preparing to undertake their GCSEs; one of the most critical times in their educational development.”
Thanking the firefighters for their efforts, Ms Green added: “I would like to thank all the members of the emergency services who worked tirelessly to tackle the fire at UCAN on Sunday.
"Their swift response and support has allowed us to recover vital and important assets from the building. I would also like to thank the ongoing support from parents and the community of Northwich.
Man charged with arson following major blaze at school
At its height more than 50 firefighters were in attendance at the incident, using 12 fire engines and two aerial appliances. The final crew left the site at 9.30am on Monday 26 February, over 24 hours after the fire was initially reported.
Following an investigation, a Cheshire police spokesperson said they arrested Philip Day of Saltash Close, Runcorn, in relation to the incident and he was subsequently charged with arson with intent.
Day appeared at Chester Magistrates Court yesterday (Tuesday, February 27) where he was remanded into custody.
His case was sent Chester Crown Court where he will next appear for a hearing on March 27.
Meanwhile, the school has only managed to reopen to Years 10 and 11, and work is available on the website for Years 7, 8 and 9.