A brave Melton head teacher who battled a blaze last night (Wednesday) was told by firefighters that he saved his school from burning down.
Christopher Haggett sprang into action at Long Field Academy after the fire broke out in a music practice room towards the end of the school day.
As more than 600 pupils and nursery school children and 86 staff were evacuated, Mr Haggett doused the flames with fire extinguishers.
He had managed to put most of the fire out when two crews of firefighters arrived to take over seven minutes later.
Mr Haggett said: “I was in my office when the alarms went off and when it was clear it was a fire I just grabbed an extinguisher and ran towards it.
“There were flames and smoke in the room so I did what I could with the fire extinguishers.
“When the fire brigade told me I had saved the school I started crying – I was a bit emotional.”
Mr Haggett praised the prompt reaction of the children, who had all headed out towards a safe area with staff members within three minutes of the alarms sounding.
“The kids were absolutely brilliant,” he said. “They walked out calmly.
“They are well drilled for fire emergencies because we’ve had practices and they knew exactly what to do.”
The cause of the blaze is not yet known and remains under investigation by the fire service.
The room where the fire took place and surrounding rooms will have to be redecorated and fitted out following the fire damage.
But Mr Haggett said there will be no disruption to school activities and tonight’s (Thursday’s) open evening will go ahead as planned.
Scott Smith, the incident commander for Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Whilst I cannot condone that members of the public tackle fires, I am in no doubt that this fire would have spread significantly prior to our arrival and that we would have had a much larger scale incident if Mr Haggett had not intervened.
“Another major factor that this relatively small incident wasn’t escalated was the quick actions of staff and students evacuating the building and the excellent marshalling of staff to lead the two crews to the exact location of the incident on what is now a large site.
“All these small proactive things saves precious seconds and allowed us to deal with the incident quickly.”