gone but not forgotten
Most of Kings Heath closed off today, the old Kingsway Picture House on fire, another old building mysteriously destroyed by fire.
Fire rips through Kings Heath bingo hall in suspected arson attack
A HUGE fire tore through an old bingo hall in Birmingham today in a suspected arson attack.
The former Gala Bingo Hall, in High Street, Kings Heath, became an inferno as the blaze ripped through the 1920s building and closed two nearby roads.
More than 50 firefighters were at the scene and seven flats near to the property were evacuated as a big plume of smoke engulfed the surrounding streets.
Eyewitness Councillor Tony Kennedy, who lives half a mile from the scene said he was woken up in the morning by the strong smell of smoke.
“I sleep with the window open and was woken up by the smell of smoke,” he told the Sunday Mercury.
“I could hear crackling and thought either my house or the neighbours property was on fire. I looked outside and could see smoke everywhere. I went outside to investigate and the whole area seemed to be engulfed by thick smoke.
Watch: Kings Heath bingo hall fire investigation continues
INVESTIGATORS are looking at the causes of a fire which ripped through a much-loved former bingo hall in Birmingham.
The vacant Gala venue in High Street, Kings Heath, was turned into an inferno at 6.30am on Saturday and the swift intervention of more than 50 firefighters could not stop its roof caving in.
The three-storey 1920s building, which also used to be a cinema, was up for sale after attempts to turn it into a banqueting hall failed.
Eyewitness councillor Tony Kennedy, who lives half a mile from the hall, said: “I sleep with the window open and was woken up by the smell of smoke.
“I could hear crackling and thought either my house or the neighbour’s property was on fire.
“I looked outside and could see smoke everywhere. I went to investigate and the whole area seemed to be engulfed by thick smoke.
“It was such a huge fire that it had caused chaos in the entire neighbourhood.”
Coun Kennedy said the inside of the building was in very good condition before the fire.
Drivers faced disruption as two roads around the building were closed for four hours.
West Midlands Fire Service spokesman Roger Moore said the fire was “of doubtful origin” and that arson could not be ruled out.
Fire officers spent yesterday re-visiting the hall to carry out safety checks.
So sad,I have lots of happy memories of the "Kingsway".At least they can't destroy those.
The police don't investigate simply because unless they actually catch the culprit in the act, the CPS won't bother to prosecute. Way back in the late 1960s I did some export consultancy work for a company in Dorset. The owner of the Company later admitted to me that he had been fiddling the Purchase Tax and was in danger of being found out. Late one Saturday night he said that he had used a string of plastic straws and some cans of cellulose thinners to set fire to the building, but although the Fire Brigade knew it was arson, the police took no action against him. That's the reality of life I'm afraid.