School to remain open after large fire

By Connor Steel

BRUNE PARK COMMUNITY SCHOOL have confirmed that all examinations and lessons will go ahead as normal on Monday (June 20) following a large fire in the grounds on Saturday evening, which caused some serious damage to the building and sparked a huge emergency response in the area.

Firefighters from Gosport, Fareham, Havant, Portchester, Southsea, Wickham, Hightown, and Eastleigh stations were called to the scene on Military Road, Rowner at approximately 5:30pm on Saturday evening (June 18). Four police cars from Hampshire Constabulary also attended the scene.

Watched by residents outside the perimeter firefighters quickly located the source of the fire, which is understood to have ignited on a flat roof from the first floor. It then took hold in a recently-closed building earmarked for demolition, having previously hosted the geography and history departments.

Forty firefighters battled the flames for over three hours and said it was safely brought under control at 9:25pm, using seventeen sets of breathing apparatus and two main jets to quell the blaze. An inspection team then attended at 7am on Sunday (June 19) and the area was deemed safe with no overnight ignitions.

A spokesperson for the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFS) confirmed that the cause of the fire was unknown and Hampshire Police had been informed. They also said that around 10% of the building was completely destroyed by the fire, with the incident causing no injuries or risk to the public.

In response to the incident parents and students voiced concerns about whether the school would close for health or safety reasons, which would affect those studying and taking their exams in the final weeks of the summer term. But the school have been quick to quash these worries as they confirmed no scheduled examinations or lessons will be affected in the coming days as a result of Saturday evening’s fire.

A short statement released on Sunday lunchtime by the school read: “We are sure that members of our community will have been aware of the fire on the Brune Park site last night. A huge thank you to members of our community that contacted us to alert and update us, your care was really appreciated. We would like to reassure our community that the fire was contained in an old building that was due to be demolished in the coming weeks and had recently been decommissioned to learners.”

Confirming that the school will remain open, it continued: “As such, the disruption to staff and learners will be minimal. The site will be open to all learners on Monday with lessons and examinations continuing as usual. The Gosport & Fareham Multi Academy Trust (GFM) would like to thank the emergency services for responding so swiftly and for containing a potentially more serious situation.”

PICTURED BY SIMMONE PRAGER: Firefighters on scene at Brune Park Community School following Saturday evening’s fire which damaged parts of a building onsite.