Police arrest 13-year-old boy after Hartlepool school fire
A 13-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a blaze caused serious damage at a Hartlepool primary school.
Fire tore through a nursery area and the Year 3 classroom at Rift House Primary School in Masefield Road at around 6pm on Sunday night.
Fire crews from Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Thornaby stations attended the scene, with roads closed off to help them battle the blaze.
The boy was arrested this morning and is currently being questioned by detectives from Hartlepool Volume Crime Team.
Speaking after the blaze, headteacher David Turner said: "Everyone is devastated by the fire which has destroyed the school nursery and Year 3 classroom which were located in an annex next to the main school building.
"We had to close the school today apart from Year 6 pupils who attended to take their SAT papers.
"The school will remain closed to all pupils apart from Year 6 and a further update will follow soon.
"The support from staff, parents, children, the council, emergency services and education colleagues has been fantastic and I cannot praise everyone enough for helping out during our moment of need."
Acting Detective Inspector Chris Stoddart, of Cleveland Police, said: “The damage caused will mean great inconvenience to the school and is likely to bring huge repair costs.
"I would appeal to anyone who saw anyone in or around the school , or anyone who has information which could help identify the person or people responsible for the fire to contact Cleveland Police on 101."
Anyone with information can contact police via 101 or anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers via its website at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or by phoning 0800 555 111.