An historic building at a boarding school in Essex has been destroyed by fire. About 40 firefighters have spent the night at Felsted school near Braintree, trying to control the blaze, which broke out at about 8.00pm last night.
No pupils were in residence at Follyfield House - which is a girls' boarding house - but Stafford House International Summer School were in residence and all children and staff were evacuated immediately after the alarm was raised.
Crews were called to Follyfield House, the boarding school for girls at Felsted School near Braintree, at about 8pm last night.
About a third of the building was well alight before crews arrived at the scene. Eight engines were in attendance. Station Officer Keith Crow of Essex Fire and Rescue Service said:
– Keith Crow, Essex Fire Service.
It was well alight. It had gone through the roof and it was too risky to send crews inside. We withdrew to fight the fire from the outside, on defensive mode.”
Video captured by cameraman Stephen Huntley.
Felsted school had broken up for the summer but around 20 students from Stafford House International School were living there. The building was evacuated and noone was injured.
Chris Townsend, the Deputy Head Pastoral of Felsted School said "It looks likely that there won't be any use for this building following this fire. We're then meeting today to look at plans and to make sure we communicate with everybody that needs to know."
Algy Rice was a pupil who boarded at the school between 1950 and 1955. He witnessed the blaze saying “Within a matter of minutes there was a blazing inferno in one of the lower groundfloor rooms and it just escalated from there and it was quite frightening.”
Jenny Burrett, Head teacher of Felsted Prepatory School was a former housemistress at Follyfield until 2004. She says the spirit of re-emergence is very strong. “Everybody talks about the Folly spirit and that’s a lot more than a building so we’re talking about memories in the building, talking about carrying on in September and whilst I’m deeply saddened by this I know we’ll emerge stronger from this position.”
The B1417 Braintree Road is completely closed as emergency services work at the scene.
Firecrews are still damping down at the scene. Some of the drama was captured by Anglia Tonight viewers.