Police have arrested a man and appealed for witnesses and any dashcam or CCTV footage which could help their investigation into an arson at Bridgwater College which caused significant damage.
Officers were alerted to the fire at about 3.30am on Thursday 18 February. Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue tackled the blaze and fire examiners established the cause was suspicious.
“A man was arrested on suspicion of arson in the early hours of Friday 19th February and remains in police custody at the time of writing,” says a spokesman.
“Enquiries continue and anyone with information which could help is asked to call 101 quoting reference 5221035404.”
The motorsport training workshop at Bridgwater College was destroyed in Thursday’s blaze, which fire crews believe was ‘deliberate’.
These photos from Burnham-On-Sea Fire Station show the devastating aftermath of the blaze at the campus in College Way, Bridgwater in a standalone structure that was home to courses such as automotive engineering.
15 fire crews attended from across the county, including Burnham-On-Sea.
“This fire was confirmed to be deliberate after fire investigation took place,” says a spokesman for the fire service.
“There was 100% fire damage to the car workshop. Crews used 12 breathing apparatus, 6 main jets, 3 safety jets, 1 hose reel jets and 4 thermal image cameras to extinguish the fire.”
A spokesperson for the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said in the early hours: “There are 15 fire engines from Bridgwater, Taunton, Burnham-On-Sea, Nether Stowey, Street, Glastonbury, Wellington, Somerton, Cheddar, Winscombe and Weston Super Mare and various specialist appliances and officers currently dealing with it.”
At 6.30am, the spokesperson added: “All the single storey sections of the building are involved in the fire.”
By around 8am, the fire was under control, however crews remained on site while assessing the damage and a stop message was received at 11.15am confirming it was under control.
At 3.45pm, one crew from Bridgwater returned to extinguish some hot spots around a window frame.
A college spokesman says: “Bridgwater campus is closed today, 18 February. Due to a fire at the Campus last night, the Bridgwater campus is closed to all staff and students today. This is a precautionary measure whilst the cause of the fire is investigated and the fire service remain on campus.”
“The College wishes to thank the emergency services.”
“Two workshops Motorcycle and Motorsport have been identified as being affected. Any telephone interviews scheduled today will continue as planned.”
Nearby resident Chris Hutter posted an image online of the blaze underway, below. He says he called the fire service after hearing bangs and seeing flames.
Pictured: Photos from Burnham-On-Sea Fire Station show the aftermath of the blaze at Bridgwater College on Thursday morning