Video footage and photos show devastating aftermath of arson attack at Mepal Outdoor Centre

PUBLISHED: 17:25 13 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:56 15 July 2020

Five crews of firefighters were called to a fire on the site of the Mepal Outdoor Centre. Pictures: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue.

Five crews of firefighters were called to a fire on the site of the Mepal Outdoor Centre. Pictures: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue.

Archant

An investigation is underway after a serious fire was started deliberately at the derelict Mepal Outdoor Centre near Chatteris yesterday (Sunday July 12).

Aerial images showing last night's fire at the Mepal Outdoor Centre, near Chatteris. Pictures: Daniel Easy.Aerial images showing last night's fire at the Mepal Outdoor Centre, near Chatteris. Pictures: Daniel Easy.

Five crews from across Cambridgeshire were called to the blaze at a two-storey building at the site at around 8pm.

They spent three hours at the scene where a spokesperson said “the building was well alight and the roof had partially collapsed”.

Officers returned to reinspect the site this morning (Monday).

Crews spent three hours fighting the flames at Mepal Outdoor Centre yesterday. Officers have said the fire was started deliberately. Pictures: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue.Crews spent three hours fighting the flames at Mepal Outdoor Centre yesterday. Officers have said the fire was started deliberately. Pictures: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue.

A spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue confirmed the cause of the fire was deliberate and urged anyone with information to contact the police.

She said: “On Sunday (July 12) at 7.57pm, one crew from Chatteris, one crew from Manea, one crew from Ely, one crew from Cottenham, and one crew and the multistar aerial appliance form Cambridge were called to a building fire on the A142 at Mepal.

“Crews arrived to find smoke and flames issuing from a two storey derelict house at Mepal Outdoor Centre. The building was well alight and the roof had partially collapsed.

Five crews of firefighters were called to a fire on the site of the Mepal Outdoor Centre. Pictures: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue.Five crews of firefighters were called to a fire on the site of the Mepal Outdoor Centre. Pictures: Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue.

“Firefighters worked in sectors and used two jets to extinguish the fire.

“Crews returned to their stations by 11pm. The incident was re-inspected the following morning.”

She added: “The cause of the fire was deliberate.

Aerial images showing last night's fire at the Mepal Outdoor Centre, near Chatteris. Pictures: Daniel Easy.Aerial images showing last night's fire at the Mepal Outdoor Centre, near Chatteris. Pictures: Daniel Easy.

“Anyone with information about the incident should contact police by visiting www.cambs.police.uk to submit an online report or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”

Discussions on the village’s Facebook group also claim firefighters had difficulties reaching the scene as access to the site was blocked.

The spokesperson from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue is yet to confirm this.

Mepal Outdoor Centre closed in 2016.Mepal Outdoor Centre closed in 2016.

Mepal Outdoor Centre closed in 2016 after an arson attack caused thousands of pounds of damage. It is now an asset owned by East Cambridgeshire District Council.

Since its closure there have been reports of illegal raves and other forms of antisocial behaviour.

Councillor David Brown, Chairman of the Finance and Assets Committee for East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We are currently assisting the emergency services with their investigation and our building control team will be assessing the damage to the centre.”

Firefighters had to dig their way through a mound of soil which had been piled up at the entrance of Mepal Outdoor Centre. The fire on July 12 2020 is being treated as arson. Picutres: SuppliedFirefighters had to dig their way through a mound of soil which had been piled up at the entrance of Mepal Outdoor Centre. The fire on July 12 2020 is being treated as arson. Picutres: Supplied

Cambridgeshire Police have also been approached for comment.


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