Updated: Bowling club blaze ‘treated as suspicious’

Eccleston Bowling Club in Knowsley Road
Eccleston Bowling Club in Knowsley Road

Detectives have confirmed they suspect arsonists are behind the fire which gutted a bowling club in St Helens over the weekend.

Flames ripped through Eccleston Bowling Club on Knowsley Road in the small hours of Saturday morning.

The roof of the club's bar had to be cut away by firefighters as they tackled the blaze

The roof of the club's bar had to be cut away by firefighters as they tackled the blaze

Crews were called to the scene after a passer-by spotted smoke billowing from the property.

A police spokesman said investigations were continuing into the cause of the blaze but foul play was suspected.

She added: “Merseyside Police can confirm they were called to a fire at Eccleston Bowling Club, Knowsley Road, St Helens in the early hours of Saturday 3 September.

“The fire is being treated as suspicious and a joint investigation into the fire is currently underway with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

“CCTV enquiries are being carried out in the local area.”

The blaze started in the roof of the building, forcing firefighters to cut away the roof section in order to tackle the blaze.

Two engines were employed to tackle the massive blaze, with firefighters spending two hours fighting the flames.

The main blaze was contained in the bar area of the club.

That part of the club suffered severe fire damage, while the rest of the property was severely damaged by smoke.

A spokesman for Merseyside Fire and Rescue said the brigade’s incident investigation team was working with police to establish the cause of the blaze.

He added: “There is a criminal investigation underway. The fire was in the roof of the building and officers had to cut away the roof.”

Witnesses or anyone with information relating to the blaze should call St Helens CID on 0151 777 6811 or the confidential Crimestoppers line on 0800 555111.