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Blaze-hit block at Lytchett Minster school had no sprinklers
8:59am Wednesday 2nd January 2013 in News
THE creative arts block destroyed by fire following a lightning strike at Lytchett Minster School was not fitted with a sprinkler system, the Echo can reveal.
The blaze last Thursday gutted the building and the head teacher has said pupils cannot return until the site has been made safe. It is expected that the walls will have to be demolished for safety reasons.
The block opened in 2003 and was one of the replacement buildings added to the site after an arson attack destroyed about half of the school three years earlier.
David Roe, Dorset County Council’s buildings and design manager, confirmed that no sprinkler system had been fitted, but added: “The building was constructed in full compliance with Building Regulations and there was a lightning conductor protection system on the roof, compliant with the British Standard.”
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After the fire took hold just after 6am, it appeared to spread rapidly.
Although head teacher Stuart Clark has said he would like the popular block rebuilt as it was, its structure may now come under close scrutiny.
Mr Roe said: “There was no loft space as such in the building – most of the rooms were open straight up to the sloping roof, so it was not possible to divide the roof up into sections, other than by the natural division of rooms arranged into octagonal clusters.
“The theatre itself would have been a separate fire compartment.
“Structural engineers will be visiting the site to inspect the building more closely. They will determine its safety in the short term and consider longer term proposals for its reconstruction.”