Former West Bromwich Grammar School site fire 'arson'

Fire Fire crews were called to the old school building at about 19:05 BST
Fire Parts of West Bromwich High Street and Lodge Road were closed off
Fire The fire has destroyed the roof of the old school building

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A fire that destroyed the roof at a former school building is being treated as suspected arson, West Midlands Fire Service said.

About 55 firefighters tackled the blaze at the former West Bromwich Grammar School site on High Street, West Bromwich, on Thursday evening.

Crews were called at about 19:00 BST and the fire was brought under control within four hours.

About 30% of the ground and first floors were damaged.

Appliances including relief crews were deployed from West Bromwich, Wednesbury, Oldbury, Smethwick, Handsworth, Ladywood, Aston, Woodgate, Cradley and Bilston.

Part of the High Street was closed for several hours.

BBC Midlands Today reporter Ben Godfrey said the old grammar school building had more recently been used by Sandwell College as its hair and beauty centre but was now derelict.

"A whole central section including an old theatre within the building has been destroyed," he said.

"This morning there were two fire engines just monitoring the building.

"The roof has caved in on the inside. It's mainly the roof that has been destroyed.

"This is one of the biggest fires in the centre of West Bromwich for some time."

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