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Fire at school in Grays
AN INVESTIGATION has been launched into the cause of a fire which broke out in the hall of Treetops school in Grays.
The school's 270 pupils were evacuated onto the school playing field after two members of staff heard a small explosion and saw flames.
It is thought the fire was started by an electrical fault, but an investigation is still in its early stages.
Firefighters were called to the school at around 1.30pm and tackled the blaze in breathing apparatus.
Fire doors were closed meaning the fire was contained but the drama studio and school hall suffered quite severe damage.
The incident commander reported at the time that the hall was heavily smoke logged.
Crews worked to ventilate the building and used thermal imaging equipment to ensure no hotspots remained.
Nobody was hurt in the incident which was dealt with by 2.30pm.
The school on Buxton Road, which is a special school for children aged between three and 19 with autism and learning difficulties, will be closed on Friday (March 15).
Head teacher, Paul Smith said: "The children realised it was a real situation and they behaved impeccably.
There was no panic and the staff of the school were marvellous. We regularly have fire drills and this really paid off.
"There was a lot of smoke billowing from the roof of the school hall and we feared that it would spread.
But because all the fire doors were properly closed the fire was contained."
Mr Smith added that he was proud of staff and pupils: "Everybody did exactly what you hoped they would do.
"I am very proud of the whole staff, our neighbours at Beacon Hill and of course our pupils."