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Gallery/Update: Fire devastates Memorial Hall in Trimley St Martin: Second blaze in two nights – police treating as suspicious

PUBLISHED: 09:54 19 June 2013 | UPDATED: 10:20 20 June 2013

Trimley Memorial Hall - devastated by fire.

Trimley Memorial Hall - devastated by fire.

Archant

Crews tackled a blaze which destroyed a village hall overnight – the second major fire in as many days which has rocked a Suffolk village.

Three crews rushed to Trimley St Martin Parish Council Memorial Hall, near Felixstowe, at around 12.30am today.

Firefighters doused the flames in the single-storey building by 1.55am and left the scene at 3.30am.

Detectives investigating the incident are treating the blaze as arson.

It is the second fire in the village in two nights after a pub landlord and his family fled to safety after a blaze broke out at The Three Mariners in the early hours of Tuesday.

The pub is just half a mile away from the village hall on High Road.

John Sills, vice chairman of Trimley St Martin Parish Council, trustees of the hall, said the building would be boarded up and made secure as quickly as possible. He reckoned about 60% of the roof had been lost.

He said: “It is absolutely heart-breaking.

“The building is a scene of devastation. We don’t know what will happen yet and whether it can be rebuilt, and we have to first wait and see what the loss adjustors say.”

FADOS were due to perform David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jnr’s zany comedy Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society Murder Mystery at the Memorial Hall for three nights next week.

Play director Su Stedman said the group was looking at the possibility of staging the play at its headquarters FADOS House or St Edmund’s Church Hall, or postponing it until September.

She said: “The problem we have at the moment is that both the possible alternative venues need entertainment licences and we need to find out how quickly a licence could be processed.”

A Suffolk Police spokeswoman said the fires are being linked.

She said a Trimley St Martin resident raised the alarm after spotting smoke coming from the roof of the Memorial Hall.

“It appears someone set light to wheelie bins containing empty paint tins at the side of the building and the fire spread to the hall, destroying the roof and causing extensive heat and smoke damage inside,” she said.

“A search of the area immediately got underway with officers, including a dog unit and the police helicopter, being deployed.

“We are appealing for witnesses or people with information to come forward.”

No arrests have been made.

A Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said there were no reports of any injuries.

Police are also treating the blaze at The Three Mariners as arson.

Two fire crews from Felixstowe attended the incident, with firefighters bringing the blaze under control by 1.54am yesterday.

A Volkswagen Golf in the barn was burned out and three other cars nearby sustained heat damage.

The only part of the pub to suffer was a heating vent.

It was believed to have started around 11.30pm on Monday.

Contact the news desk on 01473 324 730 or email starnews@archant.co.uk if you saw what happened or have any pictures of the blaze.

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