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Suspected arson cause of Newbury town centre fire drama

Bartholomew Street re-opens after temporary closure.

Jane Meredith

Reporter:

Jane Meredith

Contact:

01635 886637

A SUSPECTED arson was the cause of a Newbury town centre fire drama yesterday evening (Thurs), which saw firefighters from three counties and seven fire engines at the scene.

Bartholomew Street was closed overnight, and until around mid-day today (Friday), with Thames Valley Police (TVP) remaining at the scene overnight/this morning (Friday) and the area cordoned off.

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) station manager, Rob Read, said the fire service was called at 5.20pm yesterday to the premises of the former Bar Sport in Bartholomew Street, where an area behind the bar on the ground floor was on fire, with smoke billowing from the premises.

"At the height of the fire there were seven fire engines at the scene, from three counties, including Oxfordshire and Hampshire," said Mr Read.

"We believe someone was in the property on arrival, however after an extensive search, no-one was found."

"We currently believe this was a suspected arson."

The fire was extinguished by six firefighters wearing breathing apparatus, using three hosereels.

No-one was hurt, with nearby offices evacuated.

The property was approximately 20 per cent damaged by the fire, which was contained to the ground floor.

Thames Valley Police (TVP) were called to the incident at 5.25pm and confirm it was a suspected arson at Bar Sport – a vacant property in Bartholomew Street Newbury.

"We are currently investigating," said Lucy Billen, a TVP spokeswoman. 

Police remained at the scene this morning (Friday), as the investigation into the suspicious blaze continues.

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