Fire alarm at Academy

PUPILS were evacuated from Bo’ness Academy in the middle of their Higher Accounting exam on Tuesday after a fire broke out in a ground floor disabled toilet.

The alarm was raised around 2.30pm when a janitor spotted smoke, and the 10 exam candidates, plus S1-4 pupils and staff were forced to move out.

A toilet roll holder was ‘well alight’, according to a fire service spokeswoman, when firefighters arrived.

Police are following lines of enquiry that may help them establish the exact cause.

After about 20 minutes, the exam pupils resumed their paper and had the full amount of time to complete it.

Headteacher David Mitchell said: “We spoke to them after the exam and the children all felt it hadn’t disrupted their progress.”

In line with SQA procedure, a report will be sent to the exam body about the interruption.

Of the fire, he said: “It’s an unfortunate incident and we are investigating it with the police to try and identify the culprit.”

A police spokeswoman said: “A fire was discovered in the toilets of the school and a quick evacuation ensured no-one was in any danger.

“The fire brigade attended and found a small item within the toilet had caught fire but mostly caused smoke damage.

“As always we are working with the school and the fire brigade to highlight to the pupils the dangers of fire.”

A council spokesman said the toilet - located between the school hall and social area - would be operational again soon.

*Bo’ness firefighters attended seven call-outs in 24 hours between Sunday and Monday evenings to wheelie bins, grass and scrub fires and a garden shed.

A single response costs the brigade £350 and when the Bo’ness crew is at an incident the station is unmanned meaning a retained crew would have to be scrambled to attend anything else at the same time.

Police Inspector Ian Scott said: “We have had a spate of indiscriminate minor fires which we are investigating.

“This is unusual in Bo’ness and it appears to be mischevious behaviour as opposed to any deliberate attempt to cause serious damage to property or injury to people.

“The community team are actively following lines of inquiry and seek assistance from members of the public for any suspicious activity they have seen.’’