ARSON ATTACK AT FORMER CLUB SPARKS FEARS; Neighbours dread repeat as blaze rips through building.
ARSONISTS are believed to have started a blaze which ripped through a former social club in Coventry.
About 35 firefighters were called to the old Foleshill Social Club, in Foleshill Road, at about 7pm on Monday.
Crews from fire stations in Binley, Radford and Foleshill, spent more than two hours tackling the blaze which started at the back of the derelict building and caused extensive damage. Neighbours living opposite the club, in Parkstone Road, Foleshill, say they are shocked by the attack and fear the arsonists will strike again.
Farida Karim, aged 53, of Parkstone Road, said: "There are a lot of kids hanging around here all the time, drinking and smoking. They've thrown stones at my house and they have been in my garden.
"It's upsetting because this happened so close to us. I'm scared of anything like this happening again but to my home. There are a lot of kids in the entry at the back.
She added: "We need a metal door to keep the kids out of the entry and have keys so that only we have access to it." Uzma Manazar, aged 30, who has two children, Ahmed, aged four, and Amina, aged one, said: "I've lived here for five years and nothing like this has ever happened while I've been here.
"All the fire engines were parked up on our street - at first I thought it was someone's house on fire. It's really bad and I hope the police are able to find out who did this in case it happens again. Luckily no-one was in there but what if there was? It couldn't have been a lot worse."
The building - valued at about pounds 300,000 - was put up for sale by its owners last October and is still on the market. It first opened as a social club in January 1962 when it was worth pounds 14,000 and there were plans to extend the building as the number of members rocketed.
Tony Guy, aged 82, who lives in Foleshill Road, says the building has become an "eyesore" and is urging the owners to make a quick sale or demolish it.
The retired painter and decorator said: "It can't be left in this state - it needs to be demolished otherwise it's going to stay like that for a long time.
"We've got the Olympics coming up soon but the site near us is an absolute disgrace. What impression will it have on visitors when they come to Coventry? I dread to think."
John Pugh, of Loveitts Estate Agents, in Coventry, said: "The owner is clearly concerned about it being subjected to an arson attack. We're in the process of making the building secure again.'' DAMAGE: The derelict Foleshill Social Club