Pupils will not immediately return to fire-hit Cairneyhill Primary School, says council

© Paul Ellard
Cairneyhill Primary School was badly affected by Friday's fire.

Pupils will not immediately return to Cairneyhill Primary School following the fire which devastated part of the building on Friday, Fife Council has confirmed.

However, youngsters could be back in a classroom setting by the end of this week.

Investigations into the blaze are said to be continuing after the fire broke out in the school’s infant section at around 1pm.

Thankfully no-one was injured, and up to 200 children and staff were safely evacuated to the nearby Cairneyhill Parish Church.

Giving an update on the current situation, Shelagh McLean, executive director of education and children’s services, said: “I want to thank staff from across the council, Police Scotland, The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the local community who have worked so hard to help, following the fire at Cairneyhill Primary School on Friday.

“Most of all I’d like to thank the dedicated staff of the school who acted so quickly and professionally to evacuate the school and lead the children to safety. This was a very stressful and frightening situation for everyone involved but their reassurance helped to keep the children calm until they could be collected.

“While a full health and safety investigation will be carried out in due course, as takes place routinely with any incident of this nature, we are satisfied that the staff in the school implemented the fire evacuation plan very successfully.”

Ms McLean also wanted to set the record straight about how the alarm was raised.

“It appears a security alarm was triggered which alerted staff to an issue and very quickly to the discovery of the fire,” she continued.

“The fire alarm installed within the school is activated by breaking a glass call point.

“The fire was discovered during the lunch break and the headteacher and the janitor immediately took steps to ensure that those remaining in the building were evacuated by activating a sweep of the building.”

And she added: “Contingency plans are being finalised and we now expect to have pupils in school by Friday.

“Pupils will not immediately return to Cairneyhill PS, however, more information will follow on Tuesday.”

More than 30 firefighters were in attendance at the height of the blaze, which affected a large part of the school – and prompted the roof to collapse – by the time it was brought under control.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said a report relating to the investigation into the fire is not available yet.

However, police have managed to establish that, following a joint investigation with the SFRS, the blaze was “non-suspicious”.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “Officers would again like to thank the local community for their cooperation as emergency services responded to the fire.

“We are also reminding people of the dangers of entering premises which have been extensively damaged by fire.

“The building is not structurally stable and has been secured.

“However, we’d urge parents to reinforce the risks of this to their children and ask local residents to be vigilant and report any concerns or signs of entry to us.”

Meanwhile, locals have been continuing to rally round in support of the youngsters, many of whom lost their belongings in the fire.

Donations of school bags, coats, uniforms and gym kits are being collected by various local people, while collection tins have been placed in a number of businesses in the village and in neighbouring areas.

A JustGiving page, set up by local mum Tiffany Baillie, aimed to reach £1,000 which would be used to treat the youngsters to something special following their ordeal.

However, that has already surpassed its target, with the figure approaching the £2,500 mark on Monday evening.

“They were all so brave and they definitely deserve a little Christmas treat,” she said.