Pupils sent home after school evacuated

Pupils at Portlethen Academy were evacuated on Tuesday when the fire alarm was raised after smoke was found within the building.

Grampian Fire and Rescue were alerted at 12.43pm by the school’s automatic alarm and two fire engines were dispatched from the Altens Fire Station, with the first arriving at 12.51pm.

The smoke was coming from the staff room on the first floor of the building. There was no obvious sign of fire so firefighters used thermal camera equipment which assesses heat in the room to find out whether there was a fire behind one of the walls but found nothing.

However at 1.35pm the Grampian Fire and Rescue Station Manager who was in attendance and the school’s headmaster, Neil Morrison, decided that the best, and safest, course of action would be send the pupils home until the Station Manager and his team of firefighters fully investigated where the smoke was coming from.

A spokeswoman for Aberdeenshire Council said on Tuesday evening: “Smoke was identified in the staff room of the school just before lunchtime today, upon which the building was immediately evacuated.

“Grampian Fire and Rescue Service quickly arrived on scene and has identified the cause of the incident as a burnt out motor in the heating system.

“The evacuation affected the tail end of prelim exams and arrangements are being made to ensure that no pupils are disadvantaged by this.”

The school opened as normal on Wednesday.

Commenting after the situation, North Kincardine Liberal Democrat Councillor Ian Mollison said: “It is right that all precautions are taken. When lives are at stake the disruption caused by closing the school is a small price to pay.”

A full check was undertaken by Grampian Fire and Rescue teams after the initial situation and all of Tuesday night’s activities in the Academy, including the Portlethen and District Community Council meeting, had to be cancelled.

The Community Council meeting will be rescheduled for next Tuesday 4 December where there will be a presentation about Schoolhill Park and Ride with a public consultation and also a report by Dr Ewan Clarke from Portlethen Medical Centre. It will begin at 7pm.