By Audrey Ellard Walsh
Update 12.11pm: A spokesperson for the Garda Síochána confirmed that the cause of a fire at a Mallow school last night "would not appear to be suspicious."
"A technical examination will establish whether any criminality occurred."
A secondary school in north Cork has been left badly damaged following a serious fire which erupted in the early hours of this morning.
Five units of Cork City and County Fire Services worked through the night to control the blaze at Mallow's Patrician Academy, which engulfed the local secondary school from about 3am.
Fire brigades from the city, Mallow, Charleville and Kanturk stations responded to the dramatic fire, battling for hours to bring the flames under control.
It is understood that an older section of the school was not affected by the fire, but that an extension built in the 1990s was heavily damaged.
The boys’ secondary school, which dates back to the 1880s, is located on Fair Street in the town, close to many residential properties.
Residents were woken by the sound of the blaze and by emergency services who worked to evacuate properties close to the fire.
Michael Sullivan, a resident of Courtview, New Road, was one of the first to wake and described the scene as “horrifying to watch”.
Fair Street remained closed until late morning between the New Road junction and the Lisseen Road junction following the incident.