Fire investigators have confirmed a blaze at the site of a derelict building in Skegness where there are plans to build a mosque was arson.
Forty-five firefighters rushed to the scene when the fire was reported at 4.43am on Sunday. A pump and aerial ladder was also brought in from Boston to assist.
Roman Bank was closed to traffic while the fire crews from Skegness, Wainfleet, Spilsby, Alford, Leverton, Mablethorpe and Market Rasen fought to get the blaze under control at 46-48 Roman Bank.
After containing the fire and preventing it spreading to adjoining buildings, including a former ‘Methodist church and a garage’, Incident Commander Jason Lawley said the site was being dampened down.
He added that the building was well-known as being used for homeless people and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue was working with police to make sure there were no persons in the building and all persons were accounted for.
Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue tweeted there had been “severe damage by fire to 100% of a derelict building” and the incident had been left open for fire investigation.
This is the second fire at the site this year since plans were revealed for a mosque to be built there.
In February at the last incident, residents were warned to close their windows to keep out any toxic fumes from the blaze and there was concern about the fire spreading to Kwik Fit tyres next door, where gas canisters were stored.
Only last week the Standard reported plans had been submitted to East Lindsey District Council by Mr Y Miah which included a community hall and four self-contained first floor flats to be built next to the former Methodist chapel on Roman Bank.
It is understood the residential accommodation will help pay for the upkeep of the centre, which will include washrooms, a kitchen, a body room and a main hall.
This follows the formation of the group Skegness Central Mosque (SCM) in 2015, who launched an appeal on BT’s My Donate for £337,000 to build the mosque - described as ‘the first in Skegness’. More than £150,000 was raised by the appeal to buy the site.
Residents were made aware of the new application in a letter from Sam Hallett, of ELDC’s planning department. Inviting comments, the letter states: “The location was originally going to be a mosque, but has been downgraded as a community centre. As I understand it, the use will be the same, or similar to that of a mosque.”
This morning Lincolnshire Police were able to conform that Sunday's fire at the site was arson after a .visit to the site by fire investigators yesterday.
A spokesman said: “Enquiries are ongoing. If anyone has any information they can call us on 101, quoting incident 84 of Oct 6th.”