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Fire damages former navy base

PUBLISHED: 10:41 30 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:36 03 March 2010

INVESTIGATIONS are underway today after a suspected arson attack on three-storey building in Shotley.

Thirty fire fighters tacked the inferno which completely gutted the Old Commodore's House on the site of the former HMS Ganges.

INVESTIGATIONS are underway today after a suspected arson attack on three-storey building in Shotley.

Thirty fire fighters tacked the inferno which completely gutted the Old Commodore's House on the site of the former HMS Ganges.

The blaze, which ripped through all three floors, started at 6pm but fire officers were still at the scene well after midnight.

Assistant Divisional Officer Paul Seager, officer in charge, said: "It was a serious fire. The building was well alight when we arrived. All three floors were burned right the way through.

"When we arrived the roof has completely collapsed and there were flamed coming through every window. We don't know exactly where the fire started in the building as we haven't been able to get into the place. But we are treating the fire as suspicious.

"All the fire fighters are tacking the blaze from outside because it is too dangerous to go inside. The floors have burned through. If no one has to be rescued and the building is that badly damaged by fire we don't go into the building."

The disused building is thought to belong to Shotley Marina. Fire fighters alerted to the blaze by nearby householder who dialled the emergency services after spotting smoke bellowing from the building.

The fire fighters had to cut through the chains on the gates to get onto the site of the former Navy training school.

"Someone saw the fire from a house down the road," said ADO Seager. "The fire was at a very advanced stage by then. Earlier there was quite a crowd who had turned to watch the blaze.

"One of them told us between 5 and 6 pm they heard the crashing of glass – which would have been the fire breaking out through the windows."

Four fire engines including one from Holbrook, two from Princes Street in Ipswich and one from headquarters on Colchester Road in Ipswich attended the blaze.

Fire fighters also used a turntable ladder from headquarters and a water tanker, which carries 9,000 litres of water.

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