Nov 8 2007 By Douglas Dickie, Rutherglen Reformer
THE TRINITY High School building burned to the ground as Bonfire Night spiralled out of control on Monday.
Nearby residents looked on in horror as flames engulfed the building for three hours while 60 firefighters from Cambuslang fought a desperate and futile battle to save the building.
Elsewhere in the Rutherglen and Cambuslang areas, council bonfire squads were attacked by youths for attempting to put out unsafe fires.
The blaze at Trinity started at around 10pm on the fifth and it was around 1am on Tuesday morning before it had been brought under control.
Images sent in by locals show flames towering high into the night sky from the building, which was due for demolition and was not currently in use.
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said they had not yet been able to determine the cause of the fire. However, the Reformer understands that it is believed fireworks were responsible.
The fire has left locals angry but not surprised, with many saying that the empty school building was posing a threat long before November 5. They believe that the building should have been demolished straight away once the pupils had moved to the decant facility in Hamilton.
One such local is Stewart Fraser, whose house overlooks the school.
He said: “It was really scary - the flames must have been 30 feet in the air.
“Everyone around here knew something like this was bound to happen. Why has it taken so long to demolish this eyesore? The council have some serious questions to answer.”
Several other locals expressed this view but refused to be named.
The council told the Reformer that the building had been handed over to construction company InspirED, who are responsible for the demolition and the building of the new Trinity as part of the Schools Modernisation Programme on the current site.
A spokesperson said: “The building had already been handed over to InspirED, who are responsible for the demolition of the old school and the construction of the new school on the same site.
“Pupils from Trinity High School are currently decanted to the Muir Street Campus in Hamilton. The fire therefore has no impact on the educational provision of children.
“We would like to commend the fire service and police on their sterling efforts in containing the fire. They are currently carrying out investigations and early indications are that it was started deliberately.”
A spokesperson for InspirED added: “At the time of the fire, the building was in the process of being stripped out and prepared for demolition.
“The incident will not affect progress on the construction of the new school on this site, which is due for completion in August 2009.”
Meanwhile, the council’s bonfire hit squad dealt with a total of 51 fires in the Rutherglen and Cambuslang area between October 29 and November 5 with a further 120 being dealt with across the region.
A spokesperson added: “Violent incidents, where staff were under threat, took place in Rutherglen, Hamilton and East Kilbride areas.
“Staff had bricks and fireworks thrown at them and there were numerous threats of violence towards staff.
Thankfully no employees were injured and only vehicles were slightly damaged.”
However, a spokesperson for Rutherglen Police said that, with the exception of the Trinity blaze, the night was a relatively peaceful one with only a handful of youths being caught handling fireworks.