Man jailed for life for huge fire at Ash Green Primary School in Halifax

The fire caused £4.5m worth of damage in February. Credit: West Yorkshire Police

An arsonist has been jailed for life for starting a fire which ravaged a primary school in West Yorkshire.

Four classrooms were destroyed in a blaze which caused £4.5million of damage at Ash Green Primary School, in Mixenden, Halifax, on 1 February.

Emergency services were called to the site at around 7.45pm after an intruder alarm was activated to find a two-storey building at the Clough Lane school on fire.

Four classrooms were destroyed in the fire. Credit: West Yorkshire Police

Aaron Foster was arrested on site and charged with burglary and arson, as well as a separate arson following a fire at Mixenden Library in 2020.  

The 20-year-old admitted burglary, but denied arson. But he was found guilty after a trial and handed a life sentence with a minimum term of nine years.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton said Foster paid no thought to the lives he was endangering, including his own.

He said: "There is no excuse for anyone deliberately setting a fire. Those who do are a danger to society and the sentencing reflects that. 

“This case highlights the complete reckless behaviour of this individual, with no thought as to whether his action was endangering lives, including his own. He could have died and our crews lives were also put in danger rescuing him from a fire started by his own hand."

More than £8,000 was raised by a crowdfunding campaign set up in the immediate aftermath of the incident to help repair some damage.