UPDATE: Fifth teenager arrested on suspicion of arson following fire at Islamic school (From This Is Local London)
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UPDATE: Fifth teenager arrested on suspicion of arson following fire at Islamic school
A FIFTH teenager has been arrested in connection with the fire at the Islamic school in Chislehurst.
The 18-year-old male was arrested in Greenwich on suspicion of arson with intent on Tuesday afternoon, (11 June), and taken into custody at a south London police station.
He has since been bailed to return on a date in August 2013 along with the other four teenagers arrested on Monday.
A total of 21 firefighters were called to the all-boys Darul Uloom School, in Foxbury Avenue, at 11.43pm on Saturday evening after 128 staff and students evacuated the building.
Two of the students were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene but did not need hospital treatment.
Speaking on Sunday afternoon, School principal Mustafa Musa said intruders started the fire in the school teaching area but did not say how the fire was started or if the culprits broke into the building.
He said: "We would like to show our appreciation to the police, fire and ambulance services and well-wishers who have responded and offered support in this time of need.
“The parents should rest assured that the students are safe and have been well looked after.
"The academic department of the school was set alight just before midnight by intruders.
“Initially the staff extinguished the fire and evacuated the students to safety.
"The fire and ambulance services responded rapidly and ensured no one was seriously injured.
“Two boys suffered smoke inhalation injuries but thank God they are recovering.”
He added: "We are part of the British community and are deeply saddened by the events that have taken place.
“We urge the community to stay firm and united and bring the people responsible to justice.
“The community at large have to come together for a safe and peaceful life in Britain."
The Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has said today officers are now probing two ‘suspicious’ fires that have been started at locations within the Islamic community since the death of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich on May 22.
On Thursday, an Islamic centre in Muswell Hill, north London, was burned to the ground and graffiteed with the EDL in giant letters.
Commissioner Hogan-Howe said: "These are difficult times for London's communities.
"The Met is now investigating suspicious fires at two locations within the Islamic community which have happened in the past few days.
"Fortunately no one has been hurt, but we know that fires can often prove fatal.
"So I want to reassure people that we are using our full range of policing tactics to protect sites that might be vulnerable.
"In all boroughs across London, there is an increased police presence around locations that might be at risk. We will maintain a 24/7 guard of uniformed officers at sites we consider to be at greatest risk.
"Detectives are working tirelessly to establish whether these fires were started deliberately, and if so, to catch those responsible."
He added: "We should not allow the murder of Lee Rigby to come between Londoners.
"The unified response we have seen to his death across all communities will triumph over those who seek to divide us."
Pupils were allowed to return to the school on Sunday morning.
The cause of the fire is now under investigation by officers from the Met police and by London Fire Brigade investigators.
‘Minor’ damage was caused to only a small part of the building and there was heavy smoke throughout the school.
Firefighters from Bromley and Sidcup stations had the fire under control by 12.37am on Sunday morning and left the scene shortly afterwards.
There is an increased police presence around potentially vulnerable locations in Bromley following the incident, including additional patrols to provide reassurance.
Bromley Borough Commander Detective Chief Superintendent Steph Roberts said: “Enquiries continue into the circumstances of the fire.
“At this early stage it is being treated as suspicious.
"We would ask members of the public to remain calm and not to speculate as to the cause of the fire.
"A full police investigation is ongoing."
The £3,000-a-year boarding school was established in 1988 with the purpose of producing "great scholars and Huffaz (people who have memorised the Koran) to preserve and transmit the eternal message of Allah."
It teaches 150 boys aged between 11 and 20.
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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