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'Suddenly there was a noise like a gunshot' - school shuts after Salendine Nook High School swimming pool roof stripped away by high winds

“There was another massive crack and then another, and a parent screamed: ‘Get the kids out of the pool’," said swim club organiser

 

Schools will remain shut in Huddersfield today in the aftermath of “Wild Wednesday”.

Salendine Nook High School was closed today after hurricane-force winds ripped off the outer roof of the swimming pool, sending metal sheets and other debris over the campus.

A massive clean-up operation was launched today, as the people running a swim club for children in the pool at the time of the terrifying drama were praised

There were also problems at Holme J & I School, where the roof was damaged.

 

The school opened today but pupils were kept inside instead of using the playground and it will be closed on Friday for repairs by Kirklees Council staff.

Emley First School also had roof riles ripped off in the storms which lashed the town and that too was under repair.

But the worst incident was at Salendine Nook where metal sheets and insulation from the swimming pool were ripped off within seconds.

A council spokesman confirmed flying debris had caused other damage to the school and it was closed today for a major clean-up and repairs.

Dominic Hegarty, of Golcar, runs the Get Wet swim club and they were running a class for youngsters when the storms hit on Wednesday.

He said: “We had a full session and there were 18 children in the pool, with the parents at one end.

“Suddenly there was a noise like a gunshot, and we saw what looked like snow blowing past the windows. It turned out it was insulation from the roof.

“There was another massive crack and then another, and a parent screamed: ‘Get the kids out of the pool’.

High winds blow roof panels from swimming pool at Salendine Nook High School.
 

“It seemed like panic but only for a few seconds and then staff rounded up the kids and got them and the parents into the boys’ changing rooms, which has a concrete roof.

“We saw large pieces of the outer roof fly off and it was very frightening.

“We called 999 and asked for the fire brigade and made sure it was safe before staff helped everyone back to their cars. There was fibreglass flying everywhere and it got in my eyes, but luckily everyone was safe

Becky Coulthard Roof insulation in Salendine Nook High School swimming pool after roof ripped off by storm
Roof insulation in Salendine Nook High School swimming pool after roof ripped off by storm
 

“I’m just glad it didn’t happen a few minutes later as there would have been a lot of people arriving for the next class and there would have been a lot more people in the car park and heading into the building”.

Mr Hegarty said he was hoping to move the swim classes to either Almondbury High School or North Huddersfield School as repairs are made.

Mrs Pamela Hossain, of Fenay Bridge, was watching her grandchildren in the pool.

She said: “It was terrifying. There was a massive bang and everyone jumped and we saw debris flying past the windows.

“Dominic and his staff were marvellous and they did a wonderful job in making sure everyone was safe”.

Contractors were called in on Wednesday night to start the big clean-up and found metal sheets from the roof scattered all over the campus.

One has smashed a covered walkway leading to the pool and another ended up some 600m away on the playing fields.

Gary Stott, one of the contractors, said: “It was a real mess. There were roof panels and debris all over”

The morning after the night before - lorries overturned on the A640 - video and pictures from the scene here

Services stretched to limit during Huddersfield storms - full reports, pictures and updates - click to read

'I had to throw myself onto my car to stop me from being blown away': Examiner photographer on taking shots from Scammonden Bridge during 80mph winds - click to read

Storm tears apart Salendine Nook swimming pool roof - as children's lessons take place below - click here to read

As it happened: High winds hit Huddersfield and Yorkshire - click here to read

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