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3 March 2011, 10:02 | Updated: 9 March 2011, 16:55
More than 40 firefighters from across the county were called to a fire at Dorchester Bowls Club, Armada Way, on Wednesday (2nd March).
The report came in at 12:40am from a 999 call and crews from Dorchester were the first on scene in 12 minutes.
The fire started in an adjoining shed and spread to an internal changing area and storeroom. There is significant smoke damage to the majority of the brick and corrugated tin roof building, but the actual fire damage only affected approximately 10%.
No-one was injured or evacuated and fire investigation officers examined the area, alongside police.
It’s the third major fire in the area since mid January and fire and police teams are urging commercial and leisure premises in the area to take extra care when closing down for the night. The first company to suffer a major fire was Stag Fencing on 19 January, followed by Dorset Shredding and Waste Paper on 20 February
Dorset Fire and Rescue Service's District Commander West Dorset, Steve Waller, said: “We are encouraging local businesses and leisure owners to carry out extra checks before shutting down for the evening. Ensure that waste or recycling bins are emptied regularly and kept well away from the main buildings. Also ensure that everything is safe and secure when you leave, such as windows and doors. Enable CCTV and security lighting wherever practical and make sure that you do not leave any accelerants such as canisters or flammable materials close by.”
To address the recent spate of incidents in the Dorchester area, police and fire officers have met to discuss ways forward. Steve added: “We are working very closely with Dorset Police in a co-ordinated way to address this issue. Arson is a crime and takes valuable resources away from genuine emergencies and it will not be tolerated.”
An estimated cost of the three incidents is put at between £13k - £14k for the fire service's resources alone. This is based upon 35, 40 and 50 firefighters respectively at an average of six hours committed at the three scenes.
Inspector Les Fry, Neighbourhood Inspector Dorchester and Sherborne, said:
“We are pursuing all lines of investigation and are keeping an open mind as to any links between these incidents. Each will be independently investigated and any conclusions drawn following those enquiries. We urge anyone, who noticed anything suspicious around the Sandringham Bowls Centre in Dorchester during the night of Tuesday, 1 March to Wednesday 2 March 2011, or have any information regarding any of the other fires to contact Dorset Police on 01305 222 222 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”