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Hunt for Fire Bug - 1969

There is a fire-bug loose in Banstead - and the police and fire brigade are busy making inquiries to catch up with him.

They were alerted to the activities of the fire-bug after a series of fires at Beechholme School, Firtree-road, last weekend.

Four fires were started within the perimeter of Beechholme grounds within 24 hours.

Reigate Fire Brigade were called to Beechholme last Friday evening where a fence was found alight.

The next day a fire was discovered in the old laundry at Beechholme. Again, there was little damage and the fire was quickly extinguished.

Later the same day, at about 5.10 pm, smoke was seen coming from the roof of one of the Beechholme houses. The roof cavity of the house was well alight and the area was severely damaged. Fortunately, the house itself was empty and is not being used at present.

Firemen were called again and it took them two hours to get the fire under control. They spent some time making inquiries on the premises until returning to the fire station.

The fire-bug was not to be deterred. Later that same evening the wife of one of the schoolmasters noticed fire coming from their garage. It was found that some cloth had been set alight and placed down beside the garage, which is made of asbestos. close to a small hole at ground level. Inside the garage was a quantity of straw which, fortunately, did not ignite because the fire was discovered in time.

It was only last summer that Beechholme's own chapel mand sick-bay were burnt to the ground.