A teenager has been arrested following a fire that gutted a 200-year-old Hampshire village church.
The 17-year-old boy, who has not been identified, was arrested on suspicion of arson by Hampshire police officers following the blaze at All Saints Church in Fleet, Hampshire, yesterday evening.
Pictures circulating on social media show the epic scope of the destruction of the church, designed by Victorian architect William Burges, which has left the roof and stained glass windows destroyed.
Crews continue to battle fire in All Saints Church in Fleet. The church roof is 100% damaged by the fire. pic.twitter.com/gOZyT3T62h— HampshireFireService (@Hants_fire) June 22, 2015
Crews continue to work hard at Fleet church fire. Due to smoke levels, local residents are asked to remain indoors. pic.twitter.com/k75dGX0CNY— HampshireFireService (@Hants_fire) June 22, 2015
The fire at All Saints Church is now under control. Crews will remain on scene throughout the night dampening down. pic.twitter.com/Tfb2mJQf17— HampshireFireService (@Hants_fire) June 22, 2015
The fire, which is believed to have started at 5.30 last night, has caused millions in damage and took three hours to bring under control.
The teenager, from Fleet, has been bailed until 27 August pending further investigations, Hampshire Police confirmed.
Reverend Mark Hayton was at the church comforting local residents. “It was a very severe fire but luckily no-one lost their life. Hopefully within one to two years we will be able to repair the church completely,” he said.
Rev Hayton told the Daily Mail that the building was “re-buildable” and with “the help of the community it will be returned to what it once was.”
“The fire has completely destroyed the church and has understandably caused concern within the local community,” Sergeant Rob Wallis, Fleet Neighbour Policing Team, said in a statement.
He continued: “Our officers are in the area providing reassurance to local churches and the community.” He added that officers were continuing to appeal for witnesses.