Police make an arrest after huge fire in former play centre

A fire in a disused play centre in Victoria Road, Concord. Credit: Neil Braithwaite.
A fire in a disused play centre in Victoria Road, Concord. Credit: Neil Braithwaite.
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Police investigating a huge blaze in a former Washington play centre have arrested on person.

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman confirmed the person was being held on suspicion of arson after the fire broke out in Jungle Rama, in Concord, yesterday afternoon.

She said: "One person has been arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with yesterday's incident on Victoria Road, Washington.

"Enquiries are ongoing."

A spokeswoman for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said they were called to Jungle Rama in Victoria Road, shortly after 4.30pm on Wednesday.

At the height of the fire, the service had seven pumps in attendance and two aerial ladder platforms.

However, it is not believed there was anybody inside.

Group manager Tony Markwell of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: "The call initially came in at about 4.30pm. First of all we had four pumps in attendance. When we got here the officer in charge realised it was a major incident and made it seven pumps, with two aerial ladder platforms.

"The roof has collapsed which has actually helped, it just suffocates the fire.

"We will be here for some time. I don't know how long. There will be fire investigations.

"The cause is unknown at this point and we will be working closely with the police."

Jennifer Jordan, shift manager at the William de Wessyngton pub, said: "We saw the blaze start.

"At first we evacuated the back room then I got told by the officer I had to evacuate the place.

"We just followed the standard procedure, got everybody out, checked the pub and made sure there was nobody left in.

"The building has been derelict for quite a few years now. It just needed knocking down, to be honest."