‘We would have come into a pile of ash’... manager praises firefighters after bowling alley blaze

All pictures Eddie Mitchell
All pictures Eddie Mitchell

The manager of a Horsham bowling alley targeted by arsonists over the weekend has heaped praise on the fire service and said it’s business as usual at the centre.

Seven crews tackled a blaze at the MFA Bowling Centre on Sunday evening (September 17).

The fire service said smoke filled the building in Albion Way after a fire broke out in the cladding of the roof.

Bowling alley area manager Matt Scotney paid tribute to the fire service, thanking crews for their ‘superb’ response.

He said: “The fire guys put the fire out so quickly. They were absolutely fantastic. Ten-11 minutes later and we would have been looking at a lot worse damage.

“If it hadn’t been for them the staff and the managers would have been coming into a pile of ash.

“They must have been here quick sharp to act as quickly as they did to stop a massive disaster.

“What a service these guys provide. I mean wow.”

He said when firefighters first arrived on the scene, the building was empty. As they entered, they triggered an intruder alarm and manager - Steve Allen - was alerted. Steve stayed on the scene all night.

The following morning maintenance work was carried out before the bowling alley opened as usual.

Matt added: “The fire damage was to the exterior of the building and there was virtually no internal damage, so it’s very much business as usual.”

No-one was injured in the blaze.

Firefighters used four breathing apparatus, one hose reel and a water jet to extinguish the flames.

The fire service said the flames were put out by 12.30am on Monday but crews remained at the scene carrying out investigations for a further hour.

The building is owned by Horsham District Council and is leased to national chain MFA Bowl.

A spokesman for the council said: “The council’s property services team have visited the location to review the extent of the fire damage and consider it to be relatively minor. As a result, the bowling alley is still open to the public and is fully operational.

“The fire affected a section of the roof, which is of a tiled construction and cladding was not a factor in the incident.”

Police were also called and officers have opened an arson investigation following the blaze.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact 101, quoting serial 1445 of 17/09.

Related stories: Arson investigation launched over Horsham bowling centre fire