THE owners of a former working men’s club in Oswaldtwistle have appealed for witnesses to come forward after it was destroyed by fire.
More than 20 firefighters were called to the boarded-up National Association Club in Mill Hill on Friday afternoon, but were unable to prevent the blaze ripping through the ground floor.
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Brian Barnes, 44, whose dad owns the building, said he and his father would look to offer a possible ‘four-figure’ reward for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction in relation to the case.
The blaze was deemed to be suspicious and police have since been investigating what caused it. The property, also known as the ‘Straits Club’ has been closed for about two years.
Mr Barnes said: “The fire has destroyed much of the club and half of it is completely ruined. It’s upsetting all round because a lot of history has been lost in the fire. It was a really popular place in its day and we were hoping to preserve that. We didn’t have plans but were trying to decide what to do with it, after my dad bought it last year.
“I’d appeal for anyone with information to contact the police.”
Mr Barnes and his 75-year-old father, also called Brian Barnes, run a caravan business in Coppy Clough.
Fire crews were called to the scene at about 4pm on Friday, and pumped water up from Tinker Brook to help put out the flames.
The fire was believed to have started in a storage area next to the bar and caused extensive damage to the ground floor.