Preston fire sees three boys arrested on suspicion of arson 'endangering life'

Three boys arrested after a devastating fire in Preston city centre are being investigated on suspicion of ‘arson endangering life’, police have confirmed.

By Matthew Calderbank
Monday, 23rd May 2022, 12:17 pm

The blaze broke out at the former Odeon cinema and Tokyo Jo’s nightclub in Church Street on Thursday evening (May 19), where the fire raged through the night as fire crews battled to bring it under control.

On Friday morning (May 20), a 14-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the fire. Over the weekend, detectives made two further arrests – with boys aged 14 and 16 taken into custody.

Today, for the first time since, Lancashire Police has confirmed that the boys, from Preston, are being investigated on suspicion of ‘arson endangering life’.

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Three boys from Preston - two aged 14 and one aged 16 - are being investigated on suspicion of 'arson endangering life' after a blaze burned down the Odeon cinema and Tokyo Jo’s nightclub in Church Street, Preston on Thursday, May 19. Exclusive picture by Iain Lynn

The force said it is continuing to work alongside the fire service to establish the exact cause of the blaze, but confirmed the blaze is being treated as arson.

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The teenage boys have been bailed whilst the investigation continues and detectives are still appealing for anyone with information to get in touch.

Det Insp George Binns, from Preston CID, said: “We are working hard with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service to establish the cause of the blaze and are still asking anybody with information about it to come forward.

"Perhaps you were in the area at the time and saw something suspicious, or perhaps you have other information that could help us.

“Whatever you know, we would ask you to get in touch as soon as possible.”

Anybody with information is asked to call 101, quoting log 1347 of May 19.

The building, ravaged by the fire, has had to be demolished and roads in the city centre remained closed due to the site being deemed unsafe for those living and working in the area.

Nearby residents were evacuated from their homes and businesses forced to stay closed as demolition work to flatten the remains of the burned-out building continued today.

Pete Marquis, the Preston contractor carrying out the demolition, said work was delayed over the weekend due to fears a body might have been in the burned-out rubble.

Police and the fire brigade combed through the site with search dogs, but no body was discovered and the green-light was given for demolition to go ahead.

For the latest pictures of the demolition taking place at the former Odeon and Tokyo Jo’s nightclub, visit our picture gallery here.