Police appeal after blaze at derelict site

Damage caused by the fire on Leopold Grove
Damage caused by the fire on Leopold Grove
  • Derelict town centre building was left wrecked after a suspected arson attack
  • Emergency crews were called to the incident
  • At around 8pm on Saturday night on Leopold Grove between Adelaide Street and Church Street The first floor of a property was alight with smoke billowing from the window
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A derelict town centre building was left wrecked after a suspected arson attack.

Emergency crews were called to the incident at around 8pm on Saturday night on Leopold Grove between Adelaide Street and Church Street.

Damage caused by the fire on Leopold Grove

Damage caused by the fire on Leopold Grove

They arrived to find the first floor of a property well alight and smoke billowing from a window.

Four fire engines, an ambulance and police attended the scene of the fire, which officers believe could have been started by squatters.

Today Det Sgt Mark Dickinson said a joint investigation between the fire service and police had been launched.

He added: “There was a big fire on Leopold Grove. It is deemed to be suspicious at this time.

It is deemed to be suspicious at this time

“There is a joint investigation underway by police and fire crews. The building was derelict at the time, but has possibly been used by squatters.

“Anyone in possession of information with regards to who started it or people coming from the building we would be keen to speak to.”

The blaze left windows destroyed and the inside of the building blackened from smoke damage.

It followed a call-out to a small fire at the same address at 5am on Saturday.

Damage caused by the fire on Leopold Grove

Damage caused by the fire on Leopold Grove

Today nearby hoteliers told of their shock at the incident.

Aloma James, owner of The Gresham Hotel, in Adelaide Street, said: “There was a lot of smoke. It seemed quite serious.

“There used to be a lot of squatters in this area.

“It is a bit of a shock. It was daylight when it happened – you normally expect these things later on at night.

“It didn’t seem to be kids playing around. It seemed to be a strong fire. There were lots of people about.

“That building has been empty for some time – it has been boarded up.”

Firefighters were at the scene for several hours and used a hose reel to put out the blaze.

The official cause of the fire is yet to be determined by investigators.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on the non-emergency number 101.

Alternatively, they can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org.