Parents have spoken of their shock after ten pupils were checked over by paramedics and a contractor suffered burns in a primary school fire.
Pupils and staff at St Wulstan’s RC in Great Harwood were evacuated to the yard and then to a nearby church after a fire broke out in the roof.
Ten youngsters and one staff member were checked over for smoke inhalation, but no further treatment was necessary.
A male contractor, who was working on the roof at the time, suffered burns to his face and was taken to hospital.
John Taylor, from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said ten firefighters were called to the school off Rushton Street at 1pm on Tuesday. He said: “The smoke appeared to have reached the kids. Children and a member of staff were superficially affected by swirling smoke. They were checked out by the ambulance staff at the school.
“There was evidence that there had been a fire to the roof.”
The blaze is understood to have started after materials somehow ignited.
Parents said they were informed of the incident when picking up their children at the end of the day.
Paula Harrison, 32, who has two children at the school, said: “The children came home quite upset.
“It’s a bit of a shock at that age as it is the first time anything like this has happened to them. It must have been very scary for them.
“The teachers did keep all parents informed and all the kids were safe so that put my mind at rest. They did everything they could.”
Marie Hannan, 40, who has four children at the school, said: “I was going to Accrington at lunchtime and saw the ambulances flashing at the bottom of Great Harwood.
“If I knew they were at the school I would have come back. The children were out playing at the time so that put my mind at ease. They got checked out and they said everyone was all right.”
A local businessman, who asked not to be named, claimed people nearby ‘could not breathe ’because of thick black smoke.
He said: “There was a massive black plume of smoke and you couldn’t breathe. The smoke blew over with the wind and dropped into the street and came through our doors.”
Headteacher Vincent Murray said a workman accidentally set fire to roof materials while working on a school extension.
He added: “All but ten of the school’s 175 pupils were outside when the fire started.
“The other pupils, who were working with a teacher on various activities in the school, were checked over by paramedics and given a clean bill of health. Unfortunately, I understand that the workman suffered superficial burns.
“By mid-afternoon, officers from the Fire and Rescue Service had cleared the school of fumes, so pupils were able to return to class.
“I would like to pay tribute to the emergency services for dealing with the incident so quickly and professionally, and to teachers and pupils who evacuated the school and remained calm at the mustering point.”