Police issue Clarendon Leisure Centre update as fire 'treated as suspicious'

The mangled remains of Clarendon Recreation Centre
The mangled remains of Clarendon Recreation Centre -Credit:Manchester Evening News

Detectives investigating a fire which destroyed Clarendon Leisure Centre in Salford are treating the blaze as 'suspicious'

Emergency services were called to the fire at the Liverpool Street building just before 2.45am on Friday. No injuries were reported and no arrests have been made at this time.

At the height of the blaze, eight fire engines from across the city-region were mobilised to the scene, plus specialist appliances. Today JCBs were pictured at the site with images showing the twisted and scorched metal frame of the building.

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Discussions between Salford City Council and Salford Community Leisure, which runs the centre, will consider options for the future, including a rebuild. The centre had been previously earmarked for possible closure - to be replaced by one of several new centres planned for the city. But those plans were shelved in recent years as the economy dipped.

In an update on Saturday, Greater Manchester Police said: "Investigators are establishing the exact cause of the fire and work is ongoing to piece together the timeline of events. The incident is currently being treated as suspicious, and officers are keen for anyone with any information that could help the investigation to come forward."

Detective Sergeant Karl Perry, from GMP’s Salford district, said: “Incidents such as the one we saw on Friday morning can be both upsetting and shocking – but I want local people to know that we are utilising all lines of enquiry as we look to discover what triggered this awful fire.

Fire erupts from Clarendon Leisure Centre in Salford
At the height of the blaze, eight fire engines from across the city-region were mobilised to the scene -Credit:submitted

“Thankfully, no-one was hurt, but I appreciate that many people will be upset at the loss of this community asset. I am hoping for anyone with relevant doorbell, dashcam, or CCTV to get in touch with any appropriate material to aid our work.

“If you do have any information that could assist the investigation, please contact us on 101 or via gmp.police.uk, quoting log 318 of 10 May 2024. Alternatively, you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”

Steve Hassall, the chief executive officer of Salford Community Lesiure, said all staff working at Clarendon have been 'redeployed' to its other centres and services in Salford. He told the Manchester Evening News that all associated with the centre were "still coming to terms with the tragic incident'. He said comments they have received since the fire 'show how important this venue was for the community, with so many people sharing such fond memories'.

Known as 'Clarendon Rec' leisure bosses said it 'provided essential sport and leisure opportunities for the local community for over 40 years'. The centre was due to be reopened next month 'after significant investment into refurbishment and a brand new state of the art gym'.