A fire ravaged the primary section of over 100-year-old Downhill School at Kurseong in Darjeeling district late Thursday night.
A major mishap was averted as the school was closed for winter vacation. The girls’ school located 3km uphill from Kurseong town is one of the famous schools built during the British era. It was established in 1879 and is located amidst lush green forest.
Anurag Srivastava, district magistrate of Darjeeling, said the fire broke out after 10pm on Thursday and was controlled at 2.30am.
“History is lost. I have spent half of my life in the school,” said Radhika Pradhan (81), former headmistress of the school.
Locals said the two-storey wooden building of primary section was totally gutted. The cause of the fire is being ascertained.
No casualties have been reported as the ICSE school was closed for winter vacation and is scheduled to reopen on February 22.
Fire engines were rushed from Kurseong, Darjeeling, Siliguri and Bijanbari, which prevented the the blaze from spreading to the adjacent building that houses senior classes. Firemen found it difficult to reach the spot due to narrow lanes and sharp turns.
The management of the school is controlled by the West Bengal government.
The incident occurred barely 24 hours after a class 10 student of famous St Joseph School in Darjeeling was stabbed to death by his classmate.