St Albans man describes fire at sports centre

Police to conduct door-to-door enquiry after popular Batchwood Golf and Tennis Centre almost completely destroyed

THE NUMBER of fire engines attending a massive blaze at a popular St Albans sports centre was scaled down from 13 overnight to just one crew at midday today.

Herts Fire Service is still assisting police investigations into the cause of the fire which almost completely destroyed Batchwood Golf and Tennis Centre.

Thirteen pumps from across the county tackled the blaze after being alerted to the fire at about 2.40am today.

No one was injured in the blaze.

Crews managed to save the neighbouring gym and Batchwood Hall Nighclub, which was unaffected by the blaze, will open as usual on Thursday night.

Police, fire and St Albans district council officials maintain there is no link with riots in London but a forensic examination of the area has been conducted throughout the day and police will carry out door-to-door enquiries at neighbouring households.

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A St Albans man, Danny Connew, has described the fire to the Herts Ad.

He said that he rushed out into his garden after hearing a series of explosions from the Batchwood area at about 2.45am.

Danny saw thick smoke billowing into the sky and ash flakes in the air as fire crews frantically linked huge reels of hoses together from Batchwood Drive, up the long driveway to the sports centre.

He said: “The entire sports centre was engulfed in a huge blaze, flames licking off the roof.”

A spokeswoman for St Albans district council said that the cause of the fire was not yet known but it was thought to have started well after the nightclub had closed for the evening.