A FIRE at a former school building is being treated as deliberate.

Three fire engines turned out to the former Firwood School site in Stitch-Mi-Lane, off Crompton Way.

Two classrooms on the groundfloor were ablaze.

A total of 14 firefighters worked for three hours to respond to the incident.

Michael Hodson, watch manager at Bolton North, said: "The building was derelict. Someone had broken in, piled up materials including old school furniture, and set the place on fire.

"It is a complete drain on our resources. It wastes our time and holds us up when we might be needed at another incident.

"Thankfully a member of the public saw the fire early on and called 999, otherwise the whole building could have gone up in flames.

Two crews from Bolton Central and one crew from Bolton North were called to the blaze at 9pm last night.

They used breathing apparatus, hose reels and water jets to tackle the flames.

While Firwood High School and its pupils co-located with Bolton St. Catherine’s Academy in April 2012, the former Firwood School building currently lies empty.

The fire has been reported to the police, who are investigating.