South East Wales

Maesteg rugby club fire 'was deliberate', fire service says

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Media captionDavid Morgan said the blaze was "majorly disappointing"

Fire crews spent over three hours tackling a blaze at a rugby club in the south Wales valleys which the fire service said had been started deliberately.

Maesteg RFC officials described the fire as "devastating" as it follows a recent refurbishment and hard work to revive its fortunes.

The clubhouse and part of the stand were affected by the blaze.

Witnesses said flames were seen coming from ground and first-floor windows.

Club chairman David Morgan said he was called to the scene as the club's burglar alarm was activated at about 17:15 BST only to find smoke "billowing from the roof" and fire crews already tackling the flames.

He described the blaze as depressing and devastating, adding: "We have spent so much time fixing the club, refurbishing it.

"We were really looking forward to the start of the season and then this happens."

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service confirmed an investigation showed the fire had been started deliberately in a first-floor lounge and stand of the rugby club.

Ross Thomas, mayor of Maesteg and Bridgend county councillor for Maesteg West, said: "Judging by the flames it looks as if the building is probably gutted inside.

"The club is at the heart of the community, with a strong connection to the Llynfi Valley."

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