Arson attack destroys Mayford Village Hall in Woking

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By mattcollison | Monday, November 19, 2012, 12:05

A FIRE which destroyed part of Mayford Village Hall in Woking is being treated as an arson attack.

Six fire engines were dispatched to the blaze which ripped through the roof of the venue in Saunders Lane, Mayford, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Firefighters fought back flames 15ft high after being called to the burning building at 4.15am. 

Surrey Fire and Rescue crew manager Lee Hind said: "We were met with quite a large fire on the right hand side of the building. 

"The crews ensured that the fire didn't spread any further towards the older part of the building and also that it didn't damage the new extension  to the rear."

An investigation launched yesterday has found the fire, which mainly damaged the roof and a quadrant to the right of the building including toilets, was believed to have been started deliberately.

Detective Constable Nick Swindells investigating said: "This was a large fire which appears to have been deliberately started and has caused considerable damage to a community building. I would urge anyone who saw anything or anyone acting suspiciously to call me as soon as possible."

Neighbourhood Commander Inspector John Davies said: "This is a shock to the local community which enjoys and relies upon the amenities provided by the village hall. It is a despicable act and I want to reassure the local population that officers have stepped up patrols in the area and are working with CID colleagues to discover who caused the damage."

Crews from Woking, Guildford, Chertsey and Painshill attended the scene.

Andy Coombs, fire investigation officer,  praised firefighters for stopping the blaze from further damage to the building

He said: "The roof was well alight when they arrived and they did a great job in stopping the fire travelling further along."

Larry Caffrey, president of the trustees of Mayford Village Hall, arrived to see the hall ablaze at 4.20am with firefighters at the scene.

He said: "The quadrant was in flames when I arrived. The fire brigade had already cordoned the area off and they had it under control very quickly."

It is the second time in four years that the building has been badly damaged. In 2008, a section of the hall was destroyed after a nearby tree was struck by lightning, sparking another roof fire.

Mr Caffrey, of Saunders Close, said it was upsetting to see part of the community building destroyed. 

"It has been here a long time and was rebuilt and re-opened formally on the day of Prince Charles' wedding," he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference WK/12/6980. Alternatively Crime stoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.



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