WHEN Peebles High will reopen is unknown as firefighters continue to investigate the incident.

After the blaze at Peebles High School, firefighters worked overnight to contain the flames which saw the school evacuated yesterday afternoon.

At the peak of the fire, 70 firefighters were present with nine fire appliances and two height appliances in attendance.

This morning, Scottish Fire and Rescue Area Commander, Stephen Gourlay told us:"A full joint investigation alongside our Police Scotland colleagues will commence in due course, and we will work to establish the full facts and circumstances of the fire.

"It was a large complex fire, centred around the gym area.

"It was spreading in four directions external to the gym, and obviously we didn't want any further damage to any other parts of the school.

"We've got three fire appliances here and they are dampening down, and that will probably continue for a considerable period of time.

"That will then move forward to the point where we can look at a formal handover back to the local authority.

"But the timeframe for that, best guess, I would like to see it late today but I can't say just now."

There has been much speculation around how the fire started, AC Stephen said: "Our investigation team will be on site mid-morning. Given the damage in the areas they're going to have to look at, that could take considerable time to get an identified cause."

Looking to the future, Stephen added: "Until we hand the building back and the fire's out, we'll still be here, albeit maybe in a more reduced capacity.

"The most important thing is to do that safely, and a safe handover. We've had structural collapse within the building, we still haven't assessed the structural integrity of other parts of the building and we'll do that alongside the local authority building control team that are here on site."

Speaking with Scottish Borders Council Chief Executive, Tracey Logan, she told us: "This morning we are just seeing the fire service remain on site until they are absolutely satisfied that there is no risk of any fire reoccurring.

"The Council position is all about really recovery now and planning for the future."

When asked about when the school would reopen, if at all, she said: "It's far too early to tell, we are spending this morning do assessments and looking at what damage has been done and from there we'll make plans for early next week and the following weeks."

Disgruntled parents shared with us their disappointment at a delay in communication from SBC. Chief Executive, Tracey Logan added: "I think we actually put out a statement really pretty quickly, pretty soon after we knew what was happening in terms of the events we did put out a statement to reassure people that all the pupils and staff were well and accounted for. But we have to make sure that we deal with the incident first and then we update people as soon as we possibly can."

As part of the evacuation, students had to leave their belongings, including bags and coats, in the school before being transported home from either Priorsford Primary School or the Old Parish Church.

Local charity, Peeblesshire Youth Trust have offered their support to families affected by the fire, and are collecting winter coats for all pupils who will be without a coat while the school is closed. Sarah Keen, Programme Manager for the charity said: "Many families can face challenging times in the run up to Christmas and needing to purchase new winter jackets for their children could add to the stress.

"We have collection points for donations of winter coats and jackets at St Peter's Church, The Gift Box and The Daft Dug (Eastgate and High St, Peebles), and at Joy's house at 4 Pikesknowe Court, Cardrona - please donate any spare or outgrown coats if you can.

"For any families in need, please come along to the collection points, or contact Peeblesshire Youth Trust on 07957 383663."

Another blow to students will be the cancellation of the final performance of their production of the Addams Family. Intended to end last night, the performance will not be reorganised for a future date as students and staff have decided to focus on getting the school up and running again.

Many members of the cast were S6 students, and this production will have been their last before leaving the school in the Summer.

Were you or your child/children impacted by the fire? Get in touch with us. Email isabelle.truscott@newsquest.co.uk with the subject: PHS Fire