VIDEO: Suspected arson attack on former Darwen working men's club

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A FORMER working men’s club was severely damaged in a fire started by suspected arsonists.

Firefighters were called to Highfield Working Men’s Club in Ratcliffe Street, Darwen, last night and found the whole area shrouded in smoke.

And after battling the blaze for more than an hour, firefighters said they believed the cause to be suspicious.

They said CCTV footage showed two youths leaving the premises. Police cordoned off the area, with Ratcliffe Street closed from Sudell Road to Phillip Street and the bottom of Edmund Street was also taped off.

Two fire engines attended the blaze, which started at 5.40pm, and an aerial ladder platform was used to tackle the flames from above.

Crew manager Pete Derbyshire, of Darwen fire station, said: “We had multiple calls from residents.

“When we arrived it was fairly intense and the smoke filled all the streets around.”

Crew manager Derbyshire said it appeared the arsonists had got in through the roof and set fire to an upstairs section.

He said: “It looks like they have climbed up on a cage round the back and got in either through a skylight or by removing some tiles.

“It is one of the original parts of the building and is made of mostly wood, whereas the rest or the building is mainly corrugated iron, which has accelerated it.

“They have probably lit some paper or toilet roll to start the fire. “The flames were pretty severe when we arrived.

“It was a very dangerous thing to do and, had the fire sparked quickly and they had become trapped, we wouldn’t have known anything until it was far too late.”

Mozz Hussain, who works at Edmund Street Off Licence across the road from the club, said: “I was just sat behind the counter watching TV and I looked up and saw all the smoke.

“I was very shocked. I couldn’t see any flames but there was lots of smoke.”

The club closed last year after suffering years of financial difficulties. It was used in the 1980s BBC series Vox Pop.

Comments (5)

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6:48pm Mon 13 May 13

Peace out says...

Are we not going to see the CCTV footage of the youths?
Darwen's a small place so these should be caught easily!!
Are we not going to see the CCTV footage of the youths? Darwen's a small place so these should be caught easily!! Peace out
  • Score: 1

10:38pm Mon 13 May 13

bingoman1 says...

call HETTY WAINTHROPP after all she lives in darwen doesn't she ??
call HETTY WAINTHROPP after all she lives in darwen doesn't she ?? bingoman1
  • Score: 1

11:37pm Mon 13 May 13

Major Tom says...

It's well known that Hetty hated living in Blackbun with Darwin. She appears to be keen but she hated it, and who can blame her.
It's well known that Hetty hated living in Blackbun with Darwin. She appears to be keen but she hated it, and who can blame her. Major Tom
  • Score: 0

9:23am Tue 14 May 13

bingoman1 says...

Major Tom wrote:
It's well known that Hetty hated living in Blackbun with Darwin. She appears to be keen but she hated it, and who can blame her.
do you mean DARWEN ??
[quote][p][bold]Major Tom[/bold] wrote: It's well known that Hetty hated living in Blackbun with Darwin. She appears to be keen but she hated it, and who can blame her.[/p][/quote]do you mean DARWEN ?? bingoman1
  • Score: 0

5:24pm Tue 14 May 13

Angusam says...

This building has been left abandoned by the 3 local owners who live in Darwen since its purchase last year.

The building is abandoned and now derilict and has attracted metal thieves, crime and anti social behavior by being left in this state.

It is now an eyesore to the local residents.

The local owners should now either do the decent thing and either knock it down or put it back into use.

Local residents are left with nothing but trouble from what was once a thriving business and the current owners should be ashamed of leaving it in this state for such a long time with no communication to the local community on their plans for any future use.
This building has been left abandoned by the 3 local owners who live in Darwen since its purchase last year. The building is abandoned and now derilict and has attracted metal thieves, crime and anti social behavior by being left in this state. It is now an eyesore to the local residents. The local owners should now either do the decent thing and either knock it down or put it back into use. Local residents are left with nothing but trouble from what was once a thriving business and the current owners should be ashamed of leaving it in this state for such a long time with no communication to the local community on their plans for any future use. Angusam
  • Score: 0

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