Firefighters praise local community for help identifying suspected arsonists

A 100-year-old building has been severely damaged in a blaze, with firefighters thanking the community for helping identify two suspects.

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Firefighters have praised the local community for helping them identify two suspected arsonists after a century-old building was set on fire.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) received a call at 8:05pm on Sunday March 13 about a locally listed bowling clubhouse that was on fire.

Two crews from the Gateshead Community Fire Station were on the scene in a matter of minutes to bring the blaze under control, the but 100-year-old clubhouse was sadly severely damaged by the fire.

An investigation into the cause of the fire was launched by TWFRS and Northumbria Police who deemed the blaze had been started deliberately.

TWFRS firefighters and prevention teams took to the streets alongside neighbourhood policing teams and officers at Gateshead Council in their appeal to the community to help them identify those responsible for the blaze.

Residents were informed of the anonymous reporting tool FireStoppers and also told to ensure their homes were fitted with working smoke and heat detectors.

An investigation is ongoing into the cause of the blazeAn investigation is ongoing into the cause of the blaze
An investigation is ongoing into the cause of the blaze

Over 150 homes were visited in just one day and TWFRS still have volunteers and firefighters working in the area to ensure homes are safe.

But on Wednesday 23 March, a senior firefighter thanked the local community for their support after a tip-off led to the identification of two teenage suspects.

Both teens have been interviewed under caution by Northumbria Police and an investigation into the circumstances of the fire will continue.

Group Manager Paul Thompson, District Manager for the area, said: “I want to thank the community for working with us to provide information about the cause of the fire.

“The clubhouse was an iconic feature of the park and, having spoken to local residents myself, I know how devastating it has been for people who frequent the park.

“By contacting FireStoppers, you’ve helped us, Northumbria Police and the Council identify some potential suspects and have potentially made our community a safer place for all.

“You will still see us out and about conducting our safe and well checks in Gateshead to make sure your home is safe so if you see us around, please say hello.”

The blaze has severely damaged a 100-year-old propertyThe blaze has severely damaged a 100-year-old property
The blaze has severely damaged a 100-year-old property

Sergeant Ben Powell of Northumbria Police’s Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Thank you to the diligent member of the public who contacted FireStoppers with information that has helped progress our investigation.

“The public are very much our eyes and ears and by working with us, communities can be kept safer.”

You can report information anonymously by contacting the independent charity FireStoppers on 0800 169 5558 or via their website.