Honiton rugby clubhouse hit in suspected arson

PUBLISHED: 16:57 26 June 2017 | UPDATED: 09:22 29 June 2017

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The building, in School Lane, was surrounded by firefighters last Thursday afternoon after a blaze broke out in the roof at around 5pm.

Honiton RFC junior chairman Tom Hattan discusses the club's future extension hopes with Jerry Rice on Sunday morning. Ref mhh 6763-47-15SH. Picture: Simon HornHoniton RFC junior chairman Tom Hattan discusses the club's future extension hopes with Jerry Rice on Sunday morning. Ref mhh 6763-47-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A rugby clubhouse in Honiton was just moments from being engulfed in flames after a suspected arson attack.

The building, in School Lane, was surrounded by firefighters last Thursday afternoon after a blaze broke out in the roof at around 5pm.

Jerry Rice, a coach at Honiton Rugby Club, believes the fire was caused by a gang of local youths who he claims has been terrorising the town in the last month.

He added that the clubhouse, which is undergoing an extension, had been hit by arson earlier this month when a fascia sign was targeted.

Mr Rice said had it not been for the quick thinking of a club member who spotted the blaze last week, the roof could have gone up in flames.

He added: “One of our club members was doing some work when he smelt smoke.

“He ran outside and saw the roof was on fire, and spotted three youths running away.

“It was fortunate he was there because the results could have been disastrous.

“It is hard to speculate, but I think the whole roof could have gone up.”

Mr Rice said the unsavoury incidents were the latest in a long line of antisocial behaviour blighting Honiton and is calling for action.

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