Cricketers blame arson for pavilion blaze

John Phillips A CRICKET team was forced to cancel their first friendly game of the season after a suspected arson attack caused nearly �10,000 in damage to St Chad s Park pavilion. Chadwell Heath Cricket Club said a disaster had been averted after firefighters containe

John Phillips

A CRICKET team was forced to cancel their first friendly game of the season after a suspected arson attack caused nearly �10,000 in damage to St Chad's Park pavilion.

Chadwell Heath Cricket Club said a disaster had been averted after firefighters contained the blaze to the changing rooms last week.

No-one was injured in the fire which left the Herts And Essex Cricket League club "distraught" ahead of their planned match against North Weald on Saturday.

Now the club is waiting for workers to clean up the stinking and smoke-filled changing rooms at the council-owned pavilion, off West Road, Chadwell Heath, and hope that no further games will have to be called off.

Secretary Steve Lugg maintains that the blaze, which blew out two windows and destroyed a nearby dump truck used to maintain the park, was arson.

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He said: "It must have been some form of arson or vandalism. The fire was outside. You don't normally get a fire outside."

Det Insp Shab Chaudhri said the incident was now closed, but London Fire Brigade is continuing its investigation.

Mr Lugg, who is also the club's head coach, said he could not think of a reason for anyone starting a fire at the pavilion.

He told the Recorder: "If the fire brigade had not been there, it could have a been a disaster.

"There is nothing we can do. We've just got to continue."

Barking and Dagenham Council said the pavilion's structure was sound, and the repair bill is expected to cost around �10,000.

It is not thought that any of the football games due to be played at the park will need to be cancelled.

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