New safety fears following blaze

A fire engine close to the scene on Sunday
A fire engine close to the scene on Sunday

A BLAZE at a derelict former school has sparked new concerns over public safety.

When firefighters arrived at the former Fylde Farm they were confronted with flames shooting out of the roof of the dilapidated buildings which formed the school off Highcross Road, Normoss.

They were called to the blaze on the ground floor of part of the former Emmanuel Christian School after the alarm was raised on Saturday afternoon.

Four engines attended at the scene and used two hose reels to tackle the blaze at the site.

Lancashire’s watch manager Colin Hickson said the blaze was believed to be started deliberately by thugs who had put lives at risk.

He said: “Setting fire to a derelict building is so foolish it not only puts the perpetrator in danger but everyone else living on the Fylde coast.

“We had to send all our resources to the blaze so if there had been a fire elsewhere it could have been fatal.

“Fire engines and crews cannot be in two places at one time and arson attacks can, and do, cost lives.

“It’s beyond belief there are people who are willing to put someone else’s life on the line, knowing five-year-old Blackpool youngster Jason Walsh died because fire engines and crews were sent on a hoax call just when he needed them.”

On February 21, 1996, a hoax caller sent fire crews racing to Victoria Hospital Blackpool on a false fire call, just as fire erupted in Jason’s home in Marton.

Precious seconds were needlessly lost by the hoax call. Jason died in hospital later that day.

Warnings about the dangerous conditions of the Fylde Farm site were made earlier this month after it was revealed vandal attacks had cost the public £60,000.

Local councillor Barry Birch said he was worried lives would be lost unless something was done about the site and called on the owners, the Northwest Young People’s Development Trust (NYPDT), to take steps to ensure the area was secure following repeated vandal attacks.

He told The Gazette: “The area is being used as a waste ground by fly-tippers. Cables and wiring are spread out around the ground and the buildings could crumble at any point.

“We do not know if the service plans are in existence and on inquiry no-one seemed to know if there are electricity cables running under the site or if they have been disconnected.

Mr Hickson added: “I cannot express how dangerous it is to enter the site, never mind set fire to it.

“There is asbestos which has been dumped there and if that goes up we will be in all sorts of trouble.

“The site has become a potential death trap but by taking valuable resources away from the rest of the Fylde coast it puts everyone else in danger as well.

“There is no excuse for this type of behaviour and we would again urge people to stay away from the site.”

Police manned the scene while firefighters piped water into the grounds from Highcross Road.