Brave PE teacher suffers from smoke inhalation after rushing to put out fire at Northampton school

Quick-thinking PE teacher James Lucas and estates manager Richard Oliver put out a spreading fire at Weston Favell Academy.
Quick-thinking PE teacher James Lucas and estates manager Richard Oliver put out a spreading fire at Weston Favell Academy.
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Two brave teachers who helped evacuate pupils from a Northampton school after an arson attack this week have been praised by their boss for their “swift action.”

On Thursday afternoon Weston Favell Academy had to be evacuated following reports of smoke coming from a toilet area.

Weston Favell Academy was evacuated at 1.20pm on Thursday last. Police have since launched an arson probe.

Weston Favell Academy was evacuated at 1.20pm on Thursday last. Police have since launched an arson probe.

Emergency services were called to the scene and three fire engines from the Mounts, Mereway and Moulton were called to the school, in Booth Lane.

Police launched an arson investigation as the fire was believed to have been started deliberately.

Yesterday the school revealed the fire was the result of a “deliberate act” by a student who had “set the toilet roll dispenser alight.”

Fellow students reported the fire to a member of the leadership team at the school before the alarm bell sounded.

PE teacher James Lucas dashed to the scene of the fire to make sure no pupils were in the area - before then returning with colleague Richard Oliver to put out the spreading blaze themselves.

A school spokeswoman said: “As a result of their quick action the fire was extinguished and contained therefore minimising the damage

Meanwhile the academy was evacuated swiftly, safely and in a calm an orderly manner.”

Mr Lucas, who is also the director of Key Stage 3 and Mr Oliver, the estates manager, were commended by the chief fire officer in attendance for the calm way they handled to the situation.

However Mr Lucas found himself needing treatment for smoke inhalation by medics.

He said: “When I walked into the toilet the fire was fairly well developed. The flames were most the way wee most the way up the wall and the fire was smoking heavily.

“When I went back in there to check there were no students in there the smoke had filled the whole room and the fire had spread.”

He went on to say: “My immediate priority was to ensure that no student or staff member was put at risk by entering the area - it was then to extinguish the fire.”

Fellow fire fighter on the day Mr Oliver, said: “Like many schools the academy practices regular fire evacuation drills. On this occasion the emergency was real.

“Once I had established that the evacuation was safely underway and assessed the extent of the fire I was confident that I could extinguish the fire safely reducing the level of damage.”

A school spokeswoman said “swift and robust action” has been taken against the perpetrator, who was caught on CCTV.

Principal Mrs Steele, said: “Without their swift action the damage and disruption would have been much more serious. The academy has remained open and their has been no disruption to learning.”

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