MACHINERY worth up to £250,000 was destroyed in an overnight arson attack at the site of a new school on Crevenagh Road in Omagh in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Sometime between 2am and 2.25am, three excavators at the site were deliberately set alight causing substantial damage.
The £6 million construction work at the site is being carried out by local company Woodvale Construction Ltd with the new Omagh Integrated Primary School set to open in May next year. There are currently 60 workmen on site.
Company director Robert Ewing was called out to the fire as the machinery was ablaze.
Speaking to the Herald on Sunday, he vowed that his men would be on the job on Monday morning, continuing the work to meet the deadline.
Mr Ewing said, “The alarm company rang me to say there was a person, or persons, on the site and when I got there the excavators were alight.
“There was accelerant used which I expect was petrol. It was just pure vandalism. I can’t imagine why someone would choose to do this. The new school is due to be open in 12 months time and it will be open then. We won’t be letting this set us back.”
Mr Ewing confirmed that the machinery was worth from “£200,000 to £250,000.”
He added, “It definitely is a blow and a very significant loss. It’s not pleasant to see that amount of machinery go up in smoke. I have to pay tribute to the Fire Service who arrived at the scene very quickly and a passing PSNI patrol. Only for the quick actions of the Fire Service other machines and the site office could have been destroyed as well.
“It is very unfortunate to see this happen in our home town and it brings back memories of the burning of Arvalee Special School a few years ago.
“ If these vandals could see the excellent school facilities we were involved in rebuilding there. It is very annoying but you pick up and go again. We will be back at 7am on Monday morning doing what we do every day, and getting on with it.”
Police are appealing for anyone with information regarding the arson attack call Omagh on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 203 of the 14/05/17.
Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously by contacting the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.