Two held over fire that gutted nightclub and church


Two people have been arrested over a blaze that gutted a disused nightclub and adjoining church in South Wales.

Fire crews were called to the former Zanzibar club and Bethel Community Church in the Stow Hill area of Newport at 6.30pm on Friday.

Gwent Police said significant damage was caused by the fire, which was brought under control after three hours.

More than 70 firefighters using 10 fire engines and 11 supporting appliances, including a crane, were needed to tackle it.

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A 43-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman from Newport were being held on Sunday morning after being arrested on suspicion of arson.

Around 40 people were evacuated as a precaution after the fire broke out, while others were told to keep doors and windows closed, Jennie Griffiths, joint head of South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said.

Bethel Community Church has organised a prayer meeting on Sunday morning in the Stow Hill car park.

Pastor Andrew Cleverly said: "Our building may be gone, but the church is alive."

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Shocked former regulars at the nightclub, which was also previously known as Brooklyn Heights and Lasers, took to social media to comment.

Twitter user @WelshMumWriting wrote: "So sad for the old Brooklyn Heights/ Zanzibar building, and awful for Bethel. A loved centre for the community. Awful, really awful."

Police say the cause of the fire is still under investigation and have appealed for witnesses to come forward.

Local commander, Supt Ian Roberts, said: 'We are continuing to work with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Newport City Council to examine the scene and establish the exact cause of the fire.

"We are appealing for witnesses who may be able to assist us with identifying people who were inside the derelict nightclub building at around 6pm yesterday."

He added: "My thoughts are with the Bethel Church Community at this difficult time and I have been in contact with the pastor to offer my condolences and support."

Anyone with information can call police on 101, quoting 4447 15/06/18 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 111 555.