Wiltshire Police are appealing for witnesses after a fire at a former hotel in Swindon.
We were called shortly before 6pm yesterday (Wednesday 27 July 2016) to reports of the blaze at the empty Madison Hotel, Oxford Road.
The fire is believed to have been started deliberately and Wiltshire Police are working with the Fire and Rescue Service to determine the cause.
Det Sgt Scott Anger said: “We would like to speak to anyone who may have heard or seen anything suspicious around the area of the hotel before the start of the fire.
“A group of youths were seen running from the scene soon after the fire had started.
“We know members of the public were taking photos at the scene. If that was you and you have any pictures of anyone acting suspiciously please could you come forward to let us see these; this could be very helpful in our investigation.”
If you can help with our enquiries, please contact DS Scott Anger or any duty DS at Swindon CID on 101 or anonymously, via Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111.
Six people, all from Swindon and aged between 13 and 16, have been arrested in connection with the fire and are currently in police custody.
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to the fire, scrambling nine fire crews – from Swindon (two), Stratton, Westlea, Chippenham, Malmesbury, Fairford, Cirencester and Faringdon – initially attended, supported by water carriers from Royal Wootton Bassett and Ramsbury, aerial appliances from Swindon and Gloucester, and an incident command vehicle from Stratton.
The fire has caused substantial damage to much of the building, including the roof, with the smoke and flames visible from some distance in the early stages.
Crews from elsewhere in Wiltshire were mobilised to the Swindon area to maintain fire cover while the incident was at its height. Overnight, relief crews were sent to the scene from Calne, Trowbridge, Chippenham, Devizes, Ludgershall, Corsham, Marlborough, Pewsey and Westbury.
As at 8.30am today (28 July), four crews – from Warminster, Melksham, Royal Wootton Bassett and Stratton – remain at the scene, supported by the Swindon aerial appliance and the incident command vehicle from Stratton.
While the fire is now mostly out, there are still some deep-rooted hot spots that firefighters are trying to access and extinguish. It is likely that a firefighting presence will remain on scene for much of the morning, and possibly longer.
The fire is believed to have been started deliberately, and the Fire and Rescue Service is working with Wiltshire Police to determine the cause.