Derelict studio destroyed in ‘mass of flames’

The fire at the site of the former BASH Studio on Thursday night. Picture by Graham Richards. (S)

The fire at the site of the former BASH Studio on Thursday night. Picture by Graham Richards. (S)

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Arsonists have been blamed for setting two devastating fires which have completely destroyed a derelict music studio in Harrogate.

Just a skeleton remains of the former BASH Studio, off Harlow Moor Road, after two fires were set at the site over two separate nights last Thursday and Friday.

NADV 1209033AM3 Bash Studio Fire.  Harrogate Fire Station manager Simon Render. (1209033AM3)

NADV 1209033AM3 Bash Studio Fire. Harrogate Fire Station manager Simon Render. (1209033AM3)

The blaze - with flames so fierce that windows were blown from the building and nearby trees have been scorched - is believed to have been set deliberately by arsonists.

“There was just masses of fire,” said one eye-witness, who called 999 after spotting the flames on Friday night.

“As I walked up, the windows exploded. I didn’t know at first it was on fire. Then I saw orange inside and realised it was alight.

“Suddenly, there were masses of flames - the windows just blew.”

The prefabricated building was completely destroyed by the force of the two fires.

The first - the bigger of the two - was set shortly after 8pm last Thursday.

Fire crews from Harrogate had called in back-up from across the county when they saw the scale of the fire and it took until 11pm to get it under control.

The second fire -set shortly before 8pm on Friday - destroyed what was left of the building.

The eye-witness, who had been walking his two dogs in the Pinewoods, saw two youths leaving the building just before he spotted the flames.

“I heard a noise and when the dogs stopped I saw two youths walking out, “ he said. “They scattered when they saw me with the dogs. I didn’t know then they had set a fire.

“One headed off towards Cornwall Road, the other to the Pinewoods.

“It was dusk, just starting to get dark and I couldn’t see how they got away. But I knew they were up to no good.

“I just thought they were doing some vandalism. If I’d known what they had done I would have chased after them, but by the time I saw the flames it was too late - and I had to call the fire brigade.”

The two youths are described as white males, aged between 16 and 18 years of age. Both were wearing black tracksuit bottoms with a dark coloured hoodie top.

One had dark coloured hair, the other sandy. Both were carrying what looked like a green can of lager.

Two other young boys, described as black and aged between 13 and 15 years, were riding their BMXs nearby and may have seen what happened. They, or anyone else with information, is asked to call police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0845 6060247.

“Anyone that thinks it’s a form of entertainment casting fires is putting themselves at real danger,” said Harrogate Fire Station manager Simon Render, who has condemned those responsible.

“Not only are they putting their own lives at risk, but they are putting the lives of my firefighters in danger. This is the type of behaviour we have to stamp out.”

Mr Render has warned the arsonists their act will not be tolerated. “The fire service works very closely with the police, we will do our utmost to assist the police with any prosecutions,” he said.

“If you see anybody there, call the police. We don’t want to be going back. We can’t guarantee the structure and stability of that building and there’s lots of holes in the floor as a result of the fire.

“The crews did an excellent great job. Their prompt intervention stopped the fire from spreading and getting out of control. Our job is hard enough as it is without people deliberately setting fires.”