GROUPS of teenagers looked on in shock as they surveyed the ruins of their beloved school on Monday morning.

The Press spoke to pupils, parents and members of the community as the town woke to find a large part of Woodmill High School had been destroyed.

Many residents living close to Shields Road said what seemed to start off as a small fire turned into an inferno by the end of the night.

Mum Dawn Carling, of Iona Road, was standing by the police tape on Monday morning.

Her daughter, S4 pupil Megan Strathern, told the Press: "It was like a volcano!

"There have been small fires before but never like this.

"They were trying to keep it small but by the back of 10pm, the back building had caught on fire – it was just too aggressive.

"I'm studying for my Nat 5s so I'm feeling quite anxious about what's going to happen.

"I'm most worried about doing my exams – Woodmill is a good school."

Dawn added: "It was quite hard to watch.

"When we were looking last night, obviously the flames looked bad but to actually see it now, it just looks terrible.

"It just looks like a goner to me.

"I actually saw a fireman on all fours struggling to get his breath.

"It just shows what the heat off the building must have been like."

The grim reality of the school fire really hit home when 14-year-old Callum Macleod cried to a local police officer: "What's happened to my school?"

The parents of the S3 pupil, who has autism, said they were struggling to reassure their son following the incident.

Wesley and Suzanne told the Press: "It's not just as simple as moving Callum to a new school.

"His sister, who is in P7, also has autism and they've already started transitioning her to Woodmill.

"We cannot really reassure both of them because we obviously don't know what's going on.

"Callum had a bit of a hard start but he really enjoys Woodmill.

"He's absolutely gutted and needed to come to have a look himself for some closure."

Former student Kirsty Brown, who had come to look at the scene with her two daughters, claimed friends who live by the school had never heard any fire alarms.

She also described how her nephew, who was passing the area when the fire broke out, saw two youths still sitting on top of the Department of Additional Support when the emergency services arrived.

A grandfather of a special needs pupil at the school said: "It is just sickening!

"When I saw it at 6pm I thought they had it under control and then I come down this morning to see this.

"My grand-daughter was so upset.

"I don't know how much of the school they are going to salvage but the special needs department is gone."

John Stirling, a father with three children at Woodmill High, said: "We are very upset for all the teachers and pupils but especially for Mr McIntosh, who will be devastated.

"I'm really anxious as to what will happen to my kids as two of them are taking exams this year.

"What's going to happen now and what sort of standard of education are they going to get?

"But, at the same time, we're also really thankful that no-one was injured – ultimately, a building can be replaced.

"I'm sure the community will pull together – everybody is already offering to help.

"We have got so many happy memories in the building."

John's son, Andrew, a S6 prefect, added: "I'm devastated. I was looking forward to the year ahead.

"I've been a pupil there for five years but it all burnt down overnight.

"We were definitely not expecting that and we're all very upset.

"I live 30 minutes walk from the school but we could still see the smoke in MacGregor Road.

"I'm really anxious not knowing what is going on, we're obviously going to be moved to another school."

Laura James, mother to S5 pupil Ethan, said: "I am devastated to be perfectly honest.

"It is just horrible seeing something like this happen.

"Waking up to see it had been raging all night was just horrific.

"It must be particularly horrible for staff – I cannot imagine waking up to see your workplace is on fire.

"The kids may have got some time off but they're not happy."