Derby

Derby Hippodrome: Blaze tackled by firefighters

Crews at the scene in Derby
Image caption The fire closed streets nearby and people had to leave their homes

Firefighters tackled a blaze at a 100-year-old derelict theatre which campaigners had been hoping to bring back into use.

Eight crews were called to the former Derby Hippodrome, in Green Lane, at about 17:30 GMT on Sunday.

People had to be evacuated from their homes and nearby roads were closed.

The cause of the fire has not yet been established but there has been a number of arson attacks at the site since its closure in 2007.

Image caption The Hippodrome was used a bingo hall until 2007

Structural engineers are expected to assess the building later on Monday.

The Hippodrome opened in 1914 and was last used as a theatre in 1959.

It then became a bingo hall before closing nine years ago.

The Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust had been hoping to buy the site from the current owner and restore the building into a working theatre at an estimated cost of more than £15m.

Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption The Hippodrome opened in 1914 but has suffered damage in recent years

The Theatres Trust said it has "real concerns" about Derby Hippodrome's future.

"This tragedy goes to show... how vulnerable theatres are to fire," it said.

"For those theatres that have been neglected by their owners and are at greater risk, it becomes doubly important to have foolproof safety and security measures in place.

"We are in contact with council officers to find out the extent of the damage to the Grade II listed theatre, which is on our theatre buildings at risk register, and await the outcome of their investigation into the structural condition of the building."

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