Hainault allotments fire was ‘arson’ say insurers

A fire which saw 30ft flames engulf two allotment buildings has been ruled as arson by the insurance company investigating, leaving members “numb” and devastated.

The fire, which started in the early hours of November 9 at the North Hainault Allotment Society, Tomswood Hill, Hainault, took 30 firefighters hours to put out.

Honorary secretary at the society Anne Sevant, of Ravensbourne Gardens, Clayhall, said: “The fire was 100 per cent arson according to our insurance company, and it is clear the two buildings were lit independently. We had a small amount of petrol which was used and our heavy equipment was also stolen.

“I felt numb when I went to the site. Everyone is so upset and many just cried when they saw what had happened. I understand why the machinery was taken but why destroy the buildings? Our history just went up in flames.

“We are currently getting quotes and talking to the insurance company, and we are planning a solid structure instead of a wooden one. Hopefully by the summer we will have some sort of hut.”

Treasurer Norman Hagger said: “Our insurance investigator seemed in no doubt that it was arson, and knew straight away. The fire was absolutely devastating to us.”

A Redbridge Police spokesman said the investigation was ongoing but no arrests had been made.

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They are currently waiting on a report from the London Fire Brigade as to the cause.

The fire damage centred on a shop which allotment holders use to sell produce and supplies.