A BUILDER may have to demolish a new home after a suspected arson attack caused £10,000 of damage.
Police are appealing for information after fire ripped through the end-terrace house in Eden Court, Horden.
Builder Holystone Developments Ltd will now assess the damage to the £110,000 two-bedroom home before a decision is made about whether it needs to be knocked down.
Fire crews, from Peterlee and Seaham, tackled the blaze after more than a dozen calls were received by County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service.
Mike Savage, Holystone’s technical director, who lives in Peterlee, said: “Our obvious concern was for the two other occupiers who live next door, but they were okay.
“We can’t sell that plot now and there’s a possibility it might have to be demolished because all the joists have burnt out.
“We’re getting a structural engineer to come along and it’s a National House Building Council insured property, so we’ll have to get it out to estimate and assess the damage.”
Exterior work on the property had been completed, but it had been sealed up when the credit crunch affected the housing market and buyers struggled to get a mortgage.
It is hoped the repair or clear-up bill will be picked up by the firm’s insurance company. The firm is confident it can remove the damaged building without affecting the neighbouring property if it must be knocked down.
Mr Savage said the company was alerted to the blaze by a resident on the site.
He added: “The first we knew about it was when somebody living on the site phoned our sales negotiator and they then rang my fellow directors.”
The business, which was among contractors to complete work on the new Tyne Tunnel, has joined detectives in appealing for help with the investigation.
Peterlee CID is asking for anyone with information about the incident or activity around the house in the days leading up to the attack, to get in touch.
Holystone bought the Big Club building in Horden, which closed down after it lost its licence in 2007, and used its own demolition crew to clear the site.
Five homes have already been sold, six are ready to be fitted out inside and two are ready for occupation.
The cause of Friday night’s fire has not yet been confirmed but it is being treated as arson.
Six firefighters went into the house to extinguish the blaze. The neighbouring property was affected by smoke.
An 18-year-old local man has been arrested on suspicion of arson and released on bail pending further inquiries.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Durham Constabulary on 0345 60 60 365 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.