Blaze at former bar was arson

Fire investigators have revealed a fire which engulfed a former bar in the centre of Lowestoft was started deliberately. About 30 firefighters dealt with the blaze at the old Bar FM and have been praised for acting quickly to stop the flames spreading to neighbouring buildings.

Fire investigators have revealed a fire which engulfed a former bar in the centre of Lowestoft was started deliberately.

About 30 firefighters spent three hours dealing with the blaze at the old Bar FM in Commercial Road and have been praised for acting quickly to stop the flames spreading to neighbouring buildings.

The fire started in piles of rubbish by the side of Bar FM at about 8.25pm on Friday and quickly spread up through an extension and into the main building, causing extensive damage.

Assistant divisional officer Richard Chandler, of Suffolk fire service, told how the arsonists put about 20 lives at risk because the Bar FM building is next to a hostel.

Seven of the 20 residents were initially unaccounted for and fire crews had to carry out a rapid search of the building as smoke seeped in.

It was quickly established there was no-one left in the hostel, but Mr Chandler said: “There could have been a number of fatalities or serious injuries from smoke inhalation.

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“The crews worked extremely well to stop the fire from spreading into adjacent buildings. This could have been a lot worse.”

Fire damage was caused to about 60pc of the Bar FM extension and a fifth of the main site. Neighbouring buildings suffered light smoke damage.

Suffolk police spokesman Anne-Marie Breach said officers were investigating the fire and she urged anyone with information to call 01986 835100.

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