Wesley Building blaze - what we know so far

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

Sunday, 10th December 2017, 6:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:35 am
The fire at its height last night. Picture by Tom Collins

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

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

The scene today

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*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.

The scene today

* 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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