Greenock fire: ‘Wilful’ fire-raising devastates historic building

Police are treating a fire which broke out last night devastating the Arts Guild building on Campbell Street as deliberate after male youths were seen fleeing the scene.

During the blaze last night which devastated the Arts Guild.

Three fire engines went to the the former Arts Guild building on Campbell Street when the alarm was raised at 9.25pm on Sunday.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said firefighters extinguished the blaze and the last appliance left the scene at 3.19am today.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Fire services were assisted by police in trying to get the fire under control and no casualties were reported.

Witnesses said that the building’s roof ‘completely collapsed’ and its insides were ‘billowing with smoke’.

It is the second time in just a few weeks that crews have been called to a fire at the derelict site, after a small rubbish fire broke out on October 22.

Police have confirmed that they are treating the incident as a crime with intent to cause damage after male youths were seen fleeing from the scene.

A police spokesperson said: “Around 9.25pm on Sunday, 15 November, police were called to a report of a fire at Arts Guild House, Campbell Street, Greenock.

The fire caused the build's roof to 'completely collapse.'

“Emergency services attended, and following enquiries, the incident is being treated as wilful.”

The Police Scotland spokesperson added:"Detectives are currently investigating reports that a group of male youths were seen running away around the time of the fire and would urge anyone who say anything of significance to come forward.”

The Arts Guild Theatre held public performances from 1947 to December 2012 when it shut down.

In January 2013, the Greenock Arts Guild opened the Beacon Arts Centre, a new building on Greenock's waterfront, adjacent to Customhouse Quay.

The derelict site has become a hotbed of deliberate fire-raising.

Despite its closure, the building remained an ‘iconic’ monument in the town’s history.

Ronnie Cowan local MP tweeted last night: “Art Guilds in Greenock is in flames tonight . Another iconic building left to rot in #inverclyde.

"Hope nobody is injured and a big thanks to our Fire and Rescue service.”

Anyone with any information on the incident is asked to contact Police Scotland through 101, quoting incident number 3445 of Sunday, 15 November, 2020.

Male youths running from the scene are thought to be the perpetrators.

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.