Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Emsworth Sailing Club catches fire after car crash

Emsworth Sailing Club fire by David Barrie Image copyright David Barrie
Image caption A man was rescued from the car and taken to hospital with minor injuries

An 82-year-old man has been arrested after a sailing club caught fire when a car crashed into the building.

The car crashed into Emsworth Sailing Club in Bath Road at 06:36 BST.

About 35 firefighters from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service tackled the blaze. Witnesses reported seeing an explosion, flames and dense smoke.

The club said it was saddened by the incident and it would remain closed for the rest of the week.

It appealed to all members to "stay away from the club at this time".

Hampshire Police said the man was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said a man, who was out of the car when crews arrived, was treated by paramedics.

Image copyright Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said the building was 30% damaged

In a statement, the service said the car was completely destroyed in the blaze, while the club was "approximately 30% damaged."

Last year the club underwent a £350,000 redevelopment and was officially opened by Paralympic sailing gold medallist Helena Lucas.

'Crazy morning'

On Twitter, Sarah Jane Walker said: "Explosion at sailing club 6.45 Emsworth.

"Huge ball of fire, black smoke. Family safe, but hope everyone else is too."

Bianca Jayne-Carr also saw the blaze and tweeted: "Woke up to yelling this morning after a car crashed into Emsworth Sailing Club.

"Big explosion and the place is in flames. Crazy morning."

According to the club's website, it has approximately 1,800 members.

It was originally a sea-bathing establishment, which was set up in about 1800. It led to the Emsworth Sailing Club being founded by a small group of enthusiasts in 1919.

The club has said it is one of the oldest water activity clubs in the country.

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