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Investigation launched after church hall blaze

HAMPSHIRE CONSTABULARY have announced an official investigation after a large fire broke out within St Thomas’ Church Hall in Gosport early this weekend; officers confirming that serious damage had occurred to the building as they asked for any potential witnesses with “arson” being examined as a main line of enquiry.

Officers were called to the scene nearby Elson Road at approximately 7:20pm on Saturday evening; shutting the route between Ham Lane and Heritage Way for safety reasons. They were met by firefighting crews from Gosport, Fareham, Southsea and Cosham at the scene; working for over six hours to safely battle this blaze.

Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service said that they had received multiple reports regarding “smoke and flames” on scene, adding the building was made secure following “extensive interior damage”. There was no injuries reported as a result of the blaze and the road was reopened shortly before 3am on Sunday morning (May 7).

Writing via social media, Gosport Borough Council leader Peter Chegwyn said that concerns have previously been raised about fire risks to church authorities. He added to speculation that children had been seen in the building days before in a separate comment, an extra layer to the ongoing police investigation into this blaze.

Anyone with information or footage is asked to contact police by calling the non-emergency number 101 and quote the case’s reference number 44230178603. They can further submit details using their online reporting tool available on the Hampshire Police website, with official support and guidance available on the links here.

Alternatively, readers can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously by calling 0800 555 111, or via their anonymous online forms which can be found through their website:

PICTURED BY GOSPORT POLICE: Stretch of Elson Road was closed whilst firefighters dampened this fire.