UP IN FLAMES: Hotel inferno probe back to square one

Fire and Rescue attend a fire at The Headlands Hotel at the South Shore on the Promenade, Blackpool.'22nd June 2015

Fire and Rescue attend a fire at The Headlands Hotel at the South Shore on the Promenade, Blackpool.'22nd June 2015

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Police are no closer to finding the arsonists responsible for a blaze that gutted a Blackpool seafront hotel after their only two suspects were released without charge.

Two teenagers were initially arrested and bailed following the inferno, which tore through the roof at the Warwick Hotel back in June, but will not face prosecution.

We are still looking into the fire, which is still being treated as arson.

Lancashire Police today confirmed the fire at the derelict building, on New South Promenade, is still being treated as arson and investigations are on-going.

It is understood detectives were examining CCTV images from the area around the time of the fire although it is not clear if they have identified any new suspects.

Around 40 guests had to be evacuated from the nearby Headlands Hotel while around 50 firefighters tackled the blaze at the Warwick, which started in the evening of June 22. The building has had a long-standing problem with anti-social behaviour and police made repeated attempts to stop people breaking in.

One possibility being investigated by police was that the arsonists gained entry through the next-door Palm Beach Hotel, which also lies derelict following an arson attack last year.

The building has been empty since it closed in 2011 but plans have recently been submitted that would see a new £8.5m 131-room hotel built in its place.

UK Holiday Group, which owns the Warwick, has said it hopes to redevelop the site in the future but uncertainy over the Palm Beach Hotel have delayed that process.

Managing director Paul Bennett has previously told The Gazette he hopes the current plans for the Palm Beach mean work on the Warwick can begin “sooner rather than later”.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “The two people arrested were both released with no further charge.

“We are still looking into the fire, which is still being treated as arson.”

An 18-year-old woman from Lytham and a 15-year-old boy from St Annes were arrested shortly after the incident on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

They were later bailed and when they reported back to police last week the pair were told thay would face no further action.

Call police on 101.