Wesley Building blaze - what we know so far

The fire at its height last night. Picture by Tom Collins
The fire at its height last night. Picture by Tom Collins

Fire swept through Hartlepool's historic Wesley Building yesterday evening. Here's what we know about the blaze so far:

*The magnificent Wesley Church opened in 1872 and served the community of Hartlepool for just over a century.

The scene today

The scene today

*It closed as a church in 1973 and was later converted into a nightclub but has been disused for some time.

*The fire began at around 8.30pm last night, with two appliances from Stranton and a hydraulic platform from Saltburn initially called in to tackle the blaze.

*Flames could be seen around 20ft above the roof.

*At the height of the blaze, five fire engines were called to the scene along with a command control unit, two hydraulic platforms and a welfare unit.

*Firefighters used the platforms to get closer to the flames in the roof space and upper floor of the building.

* Victoria Road and Wesley Square were closed and people were advised to avoid the area.

*Crews returned to the scene at 8.20am today after the roof collapsed.

*A structural engineer has carried out an assessment of the building and given investigators from the police and fire service the all-clear to enter.

*A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: "We are working with the fire service to determine whether the fire is suspicious or not."

*Anyone with information which could help police can call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Cleveland Brigade remains at the scene today.

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