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Borders school remains closed after 'severe' fire

The school remains closed after a big blaze. Credit: Dan Tarrant

A school in the Scottish Borders remains closed today following a 'severe' fire.

Peebles High School was evacuated on 28 November at lunchtime as a blaze took hold of a section of the building.

Six fire engines tackled the inferno and the site was "fully evacuated" with all pupils and staff accounted for.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service say the flames are now extinguished, with more than 70 firefighters working through the night.

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The extent of the damage is not yet known and the school will remain closed until at least Tuesday.

Incident Commander Stephen Gourlay said: “This was undoubtedly a challenging incident – and indeed one of the most complex building fires I have ever attended. Thanks to our firefighters and partners for their efforts, and and the local community for their support."

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Tracey Logan, chief executive of Scottish Borders Council, praised the response from fire crews and the local community in a statement.

She said: "Fire crews have remained on site at Peebles High School overnight and this morning and I would firstly like to pay tribute to them for their tireless efforts.

"The community of Peebles responded quickly too, and I'd like to thank all those businesses and residents who offered and provided their support to the school and to the emergency services. That support is greatly appreciated."

Ms Logan said plans to pupils to keep attended classes would be finalised during the weekend and shared with parents.

Dozens of firefighters responded to the incident. Credit: ITV Border

She said: "At this time this remains a Scottish Fire and Rescue Service-led incident and we continue to work closely with them and Police Scotland. It is not appropriate to speculate on the cause of the fire.

"Until the fire service has completed its work and the necessary investigations are carried out access to the site will be restricted.

"Once the school is handed back to the council we will do our best to quickly assess the damage, caused not only by the fire but also smoke and water, and look at arrangements for the coming days and to return belongings to pupils and staff.

"Our priority is maintaining continuity in the education of our young people here in Peebles and we will work throughout the weekend to make plans for next week and beyond and will communicate to parents, pupils and staff through the normal channels and our dedicated webpage www.scotborders.gov.uk/PHSfire."

Businesses came out in force to help during the emergency including Tweed Love Fest who provided blankets to students while they waited in the school's fields.

Parents have been expressing their gratitude for the staff and emergency services' response to the fire.

One parent said: "As I sit here with both my daughters, I’m eternally grateful that today, quick acting teachers, responsible children, the fire service, the ambulance service, along with the Peebles Community #Peebles"

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Scottish Borders Council has set up a webpage for parents and teachers to keep up to date with any new information.

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