Arson investigation continues to Ivy Leaf Club fire as building goes up in flames day before it was due to be sold
Firefighters have been praised for their “skilled and swift work” in tackling a blaze at a derelict club.
They spent around half an hour dousing flames at the disused Ivy Leaf Club, in Suffolk Street, Hendon, Sunderland, after the alarm was raised at 6.25pm on Wednesday.
The emergency services spent more than two hours at the scene and Northumbria Police confirming on Thursday morning that they have launched a criminal investigation into the suspected arson attack.
A Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said four crews rushed to the scene at around 6.25pm last night.
A statement said: “Firefighters wore breathing apparatus to enter the building and used a hose reel to tackle the fire.
“Thanks to their skilled and swift work, the incident was concluded by 18.55 with 20% severe fire damage and moderate smoke damage.”
Watch manager Don McAneny said at the scene: “We had a deliberate fire on the second floor, so we needed four appliances from two stations.
"The fire has been extinguished and it has been a deliberate act.”
He explained that firefighters were seen being decontaminated after leaving the building due to the possibility of asbestos being in the former club.
He added: "Obviously our crews worked very swiftly to stop a developing fire, which could have been a major incident for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service. It was potentially a big fire."
The Ivy Leaf Club building was due to be up for auction today through Pattinson Estate Agents with a starting bid price of £70,000.
According to the estate agents’ website, the auction was due to be held at Kingston Park Rugby Club on Thursday, September 26, from 5pm.
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “Shortly after 6pm on Wednesday, September 25, we received a report of a fire at the Ivy Leaf Club and institute in Suffolk Street, Hendon.
“Inquiries into the cause of the fire are ongoing but at this stage it is being treated as arson.
“Anyone with information, or anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously is asked to call police on 101, quoting log 900 250919.”