Derelict building 'set on fire' in Hendon - arson investigation launched
A fire at a derelict building which was due to go to auction was started deliberately, the fire service say.
Engines from Farringdon and Sunderland Central Fire Stations attended the scene, along with officers from Northumbria Police.
Speaking to the Echo at the blaze, on Suffolk Street, Watch Manager Don McAneny from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that the fire is believed to have been started deliberately.
Mr McAneny, who is based at Sunderland Central Community Fire Station said: “We had a deliberate fire on the second floor, so we needed four appliances from two stations.
"We committed four breathing apparatus wearers to locate the fire and there was also the possibility that persons were inside.
"The fire has been extinguished and it has been a deliberate act.
"The hazards we encounter in large complex buildings such as this are cable entanglement, large holes and general hazard within a derelict building.
"We used fans to clear the building of smoke and make it safe for the firefighters.
"We couldn't discount the possibility of asbestos, so the officers went through a decontamination process after they came out.
"Obviously our crews worked very swiftly to stop a developing fire, which could have been a major include for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.
"It was potentially a big fire."
Residents from nearby headed out to the street in their dozens as the fire, which started in second level of the three-storey building, took hold.
One man, who did not wish to be named, told the Echo that derelict buildings, such as the former social club, "bring the area down".
The 27-year-old said: "Derelict buildings like this don't help the area, they bring it down.
"We are always asking for something to be done. Landlords of buildings don’t live round here and they don’t know what it’s like.”
Puram Gill, 19, who works at the Premier Gills Express shop in the street, said a customer came in to raise the alert about the blaze.
The teenager told the Echo that the fire looked “massive” – and that he could hear popping before firefighters worked to bring the blaze under control.
Officers at the scene used hose reels and thermal imaging cameras as they worked to put out the blaze, with the cordon taken down and clear up under way by 8pm
As of 8.30pm on Wednesday, September 25, there were 18 hours left to make a bid.
According to the estate agents’ website, the auction was due to be held at Kingston Park Rugby Club on Thursday, September 26 from 5pm.
In the listing, the premises is described as a three-story, detached property with approximately 11,000sqft of space.
It also has a three-bedroom flat to the top floor.