Investigation underway after Stoke On Trent arson

Abandoned building will be demolished

A fire which ripped through a disused working men’s club on the Newstead Industrial Estate in Blurton last night was started deliberately, according to fire and police officers.

Emergency services were called out to the former Old Mill Working Men’s Club and Institute on Sherbourne Close around 8:30pm on Tuesday.

Over 25 firefighters from Longton, Hanley, Newcastle and Cheadle attended the blaze.

Station Manager, Rob Barber said: "The building was well alight when we arrived on scene and took around three and a half hours to extinguish.

"We then had two appliances remain on scene overnight monitoring hotspots and continuing to damp down so that a fire investigation could take place this morning.

"We have carried out our investigations and have gathered enough evidence to support a conclusion that this fire was started deliberately.

"We will do everything in our power to help Staffordshire Police bring those responsible to justice – arson is a serious crime, it endangers many lives and ties up emergency services for hours.”

Police officers are now carrying out house to house enquiries and viewing CCTV footage from the area.

DI Steve Morrey, from Staffordshire Police, said: "This was a large-scale fire which attracted a lot of attention from the local community.

"I would encourage anyone with information on the incident to contact us.

"We are keen to trace a group of young people who were seen to enter the premises at approximately 7.30pm. They subsequently left at some point prior to the fire. Do you know who these young people are? If so, please let us know.

"Disused and abandoned buildings pose many hidden dangers and as a result are not open to the public. I would encourage parents to reinforce this message to their children.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 797 of June 18, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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