New aerial pictures of the scene this morning show the damage to the rear of the building, which was undergoing a multi-million pound redevelopment into a 36-bedroom boutique hotel with a bar-restaurant; and four other commercial units to situated at ground floor level.
The building was engulfed by a major fire last night which took several hours to extinguish, with 6 fire appliances attending from across Cleveland.
Cleveland Police confirmed that three males, two aged 15 and one aged 16, were arrested on suspicion of arson and they have been bailed with conditions. They are appealing for anyone with information to contact them on 101, quoting reference number 221645.
In a statement, Darren Hankey, chair of Hartlepool Town Deal Board said “I was truly shocked to see the pictures and footage of the fire that occurred at the Wesley Chapel last night. On behalf of the board, I’m thankful that everyone is safe and unharmed, and would like to place on record my thanks to the wonderful emergency services who responded so swiftly and effectively.”
“The Wesley Chapel redevelopment is one of five projects in the town receiving Town Deal funding and last night’s fire is truly heart-breaking for those who have been involved on the board since 2019. While it is devastating, the board will continue to work with our committed colleagues from Hartlepool Borough Council, our partners at Jomast and the emergency services over the coming weeks and beyond to try to ensure that this vital regeneration project continues.”