Fire hits former bingo hall

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FIRE tore through a derelict former theatre and bingo hall in Shirebrook early on Wednesday morning in the latest in a series of blazes at the site.

Crews from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire’s fire services were called to the incident at the old Empire building on Thickley Close at around 6am.

Said a resident of nearby Station Road, who did not want be named: “I saw what was going on at about a quarter past six, because I noticed the blue lights from the fire engine.

“It was just engulfed in flames, I was just shocked.”

No-one was hurt in the incident and fire crews brought the blaze under control using an aerial ladder platform.

Said Richard Barker, Chesterfield station manager and incident commander at the scene: “When we arrived we were faced with a rapidly developing fire involving one side of the building.

“We surrounded it to make sure it did not spread to neighbouring properties.

“This is around the sixth fire at this site in recent years.”

He added most of the damage appeared to have been caused to the theatre area.

Built in around 1910 the building was first used as a theatre but later became a cinema and finally a bingo hall before closing in 2004.

“A fire investigation officer will work with police to determine the cause,” added station manager Barker.

Crews from Warsop, Mansfield, Chesterfield, Shirebrook and Bolsover attended the incident.