Gardaí investigating after historic school is gutted by overnight blaze
Gardaí are investigating after a historic school in Cork was engulfed in flames early on Wednesday morning.
Residents in Mallow, Cork, raised the alarm at approximately 3.20am after they saw smoke billowing around the Patrician Academy on Fair Street.
Gardaí and emergency services attended the scene and five units of the Cork City and County Fire service tackled the blaze.
The fire is understood to be under control, and no injuries have been reported.
It is believed that no one was in the building at the time of the fire.
The all-boys secondary school was established in 1886, and the building consists of an old monastery and a modern block of classrooms constructed in the 1970s.
A Garda spokesperson told Independent.ie that the fire does not appear to be suspicious.
“The scene is preserved and will be technically examined when safe to do so,” the spokesperson said.
“The technical examination will establish whether any criminality occurred.”
A number of houses in the surrounding area were evacuated as a precaution and road closures were put in place.
An eye-witness told Red FM’s Neil Prendeville Show that the building was completely destroyed as the fire ripped through it.
“At about 3.15am this morning I was woken up by what sounded like firecrackers or bangers, we looked out the window and we could see the building was on fire,” Carol Walsh, who lives next door to the school, told the programme.
“When I woke up, it was just smoking, I couldn’t see the flames over the roofs of the houses at that time. I rang the guards and within five minutes the flames were high.
“It’s completely residential in this area, there are houses surrounding the school. We were watching all the sparks flying over the debris.”
When Ms Walsh saw the school a few hours later, she said it had been gutted by the blaze.
“I saw it this morning, the roof is completely gone. The stone walls are still standing but the roofs are completed caved in.”
Three units of Cork County Fire Service remain working at the Patrician Academy in Mallow this morning following a serious fire overnight.— Audrey Ellard Walsh (@AudreyEWalsh) July 13, 2016
Part of the Patrician Academy school in Mallow has been gutted by fire pic.twitter.com/tPRzc9NJGQ— Fiona Donnelly (@FionaDonnelly22) July 13, 2016