Alnwick school blaze: Eyewitness accounts

Firefighters tackle the blaze at the former St Paul's School, Alnwick.
Firefighters tackle the blaze at the former St Paul's School, Alnwick.

A SHOCKED eyewitness to the inferno at the former Alnwick school has said the blaze was so intense she could hear the flames crackling and glass breaking at the site.

The resident, who lives close to the former St John’s RC First School, also said that a friend had seen the smoke from as far away as Bilton, near Alnmouth.

Firefighters tackle the blaze at the former St Paul's School, Alnwick.

Firefighters tackle the blaze at the former St Paul's School, Alnwick.

Our source told Gazette reporter James Willoughby: “I was in Green Batt and I saw smoke. It was just a mass of thick, black, billowing smoke. I rushed home and from my house, which is next to the school, I could hear the glass breaking and the flames crackling.”

Many people had poured onto the street nearby to catch a glimpse of the drama as it unfolded.

“The traffic ground to a halt, it was gridlock, as people stopped their cars to have a look at what was happening,” our source added.

Meanwhile, a police spokesman, who was first at the scene, described the moment he arrived at the site.

A firefighter tackles the blaze at the former St Paul's School building in Alnwick. Picture by James Willoughby

A firefighter tackles the blaze at the former St Paul's School building in Alnwick. Picture by James Willoughby

“The left-hand side of the school, which is the main part, was completely on fire. It was quite fierce and it was coming out of the top of the building,” he said.

He also confirmed that onlookers had filled the streets after seeing the blaze at the disused school, on Lisburn Terrace.

“It was absolutely packed around here,” he said.

The cause of the fire is still unknown and a fire investigator was at the scene.

The police spokesman said there had been nobody at the site when he arrived.