Arson probe after second fire started at former snooker hall in Keighley

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Firefighters put out a fire at a snooker hall on Wren Street, Keighley Firefighters put out a fire at a snooker hall on Wren Street, Keighley

Fed-up residents were evacuated from their homes in the early hours for the second time in less than a week after a suspected arson attack on a former snooker hall.

Yesterday’s severe blaze destroyed what was left of the building in Grange Street, Lawkholme, Keighley, following the first fire which happened last Tuesday morning.

Crews from six fire stations battled for around four hours to bring the latest fire under control, and smoke could still be seen rising from the empty shell of the building when daylight arrived yesterday morning.

Around 30 residents in neighbouring Wren Street and surrounding terraced streets were evacuated during the latest incident.

Police asked them to leave soon after firefighters arrived to tackle the blaze at around 2am.

A Red Cross crisis team, summoned by the Fire Service, provided refreshments to evacuated householders, and Bradford Council offered the use of nearby Victoria Hall.

Nazmeen Ali, who lives in Wren Street, said: “My in-laws live across the road, so we went there. A lot of people along the street have families living near here.

“There was a lot of smoke this time and a really strong smell of diesel.

“The building used to be a snooker hall. Then I think there was a small takeaway, which closed.”

Another resident of Wren Street, who did not want to be named, said the former snooker hall was normally empty, but may have been used recently to store clothes. He said there had been at least five fires in recent years at the former snooker hall.

Coun Abid Hussain, who represents Keighley Central ward on Bradford Council, described the latest fire as a “terrible thing.”

He said: “I feel for the residents who have been disturbed again. This time, children had to go to school in the morning.”

Coun Hussain said that after last week’s fire, he had called on all the homes where people had been evacuated – particularly elderly residents of Emily Street – to see if they needed any help.

A police spokesman said that enquiries were ongoing into both incidents. Det Insp Ryan Bragg, of Bradford CID, said: “We are investigating the fire at the snooker club on Nightingale Street, Keighley, from the early hours of yesterday morning as an incident of arson.

“We are also looking into links between this fire and the one at the same premises on December 31, 2013.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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