Police involved in probe into Balderton leisure centre fire

This post first appeared on Nottingham Post. Read the original article.

Police are asking for anyone with information about a fire which ripped through a disused leisure centre on Friday night to come forward.

At around 8.30pm on September 15, fire crews were called to the former Grove Leisure Centre in London Road, Balderton.

Fire crews from across Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire worked through the night and into Saturday tackling the major blaze at the former Grove Leisure Centre site including firefighters from as far afield as Tuxford, Nottingham and Grantham.

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Some 50 firefighters were deployed to bring the large fire in the single-storey sports complex building under control, which was so fierce that traffic was diverted off the nearby A1 due to drifting smoke plumes.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

An appeal has now been made by Nottinghamshire Police over the incident, as they work alongside fire colleagues to investigate how the blaze began: "We are working with our colleagues at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service to establish the cause of a fire at a former Leisure Centre in London Road, New Balderton, Newark.

"If you have any information about the fire, which started at around 8.30pm, please contact us on 101, quoting incident 852 of September 15."

The fire was fully out yesterday (Saturday) but due to the severity of the incident, work is continuing to secure the site and is likely to run into Monday - meaning the nearby Newark Academy has been forced to close for the day.

In a letter to parents, head of school Andy Seymour said: "Following consultation with Nottinghamshire Fire Service and the building contractors who are working on the decommissioning of the Leisure Centre building, Newark Academy will be closed to students on Monday to allow the site of the fire to be fully secured.

"This decision has been made to ensure the safety of our students accessing the site and has not been taken lightly. We understand the inconvenience this may well cause to families.

"We are optimistic that the school will be open again on Tuesday.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Nottinghamshire Fire Service teams who attended the fire and worked through the night to bring the situation under control."

And Talk Fitness, which operates leisure services for Newark and Sherwood District Council from the school site, said: "It is very sad news about our former leisure centre.

"Lots of people enjoyed many hours here playing and watching sport over the years but it is a disappointing way to disappear from the community.

"All bookings at Newark Academy have been cancelled until further notice due to the smoke and access issues."

A Nottinghamshire County Council spokesman said: "We're currently on site working with the emergency services and partner agencies to investigate the fire at the former Grove Leisure Centre in Newark.

"Inspections are now being carried out to ensure the site is safe and we are increasing security to further safeguard public safety."