Blaze at former Wesley nightclub in Hartlepool may remain unsolved as police close investigation

The cause of a huge fire which severely damaged a historic Hartlepool building could remain unsolved.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 9th March 2018, 3:10 pm
Updated Friday, 9th March 2018, 3:10 pm
The Wesley building on fire. Picture by Tom Collins
The Wesley building on fire. Picture by Tom Collins

Cleveland Police say they have closed the investigation into the fire which ripped through the former Wesley nighclub building in Hartlepool town centre late last year.

No-one has been arrested after police launched an arson probe into the blaze, but officers did speak to two people voluntarily.

The Wesley building on fire. Picture by Tom Collins

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A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “The police investigation into the fire is now closed pending any further information coming to light.”

Flames could be seen about 20ft above the roof and attracted the attention of numerous onlookers.

Within days Cleveland Police confirmed they believe the huge blaze at the former Methodist church and nightclub was started deliberately.

The Wesley building on fire. Picture by Tom Collins

An investigation was launched the day after the fire after police and fire chiefs were able to gain access to the building in Victoria Road.

A structural engineer declared the building safe to enter after an assessment because the fire led to the roof of the building caving in.

Damage to the roof caused it to collapse, but the remainder of the building was not believed to have been badly affected.

The building is owned by Stockton-based development company Jomast which was granted planning permission to convert it into a hotel.

Stuart Monk, Jomast managing director, said following the fire: “The company will be continuing with conversion works to bring the property back to use as a hotel with ancillary facilities on the lower ground floor.”

In 2012 Hartlepool Borough Council granted Jomast listed building consent to carry out alterations and change of use for a 49-bedroom hotel and make the lower ground floor a bar/bistro/restaurant.

Dramatic pictures showed the size of the fire and aftermath to the Wesley which has been empty for a number of years.

Five appliances from Cleveland Fire Brigade, a command control unit, a welfare base and two hydraulic platforms were drafted in at its height.

No one is reported to have been hurt in the incident.

The Grade II listed building, which dates back to 1872, was formerly used as a church, and later a combined nightclub and gym.