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Guesthouse fire treated as arson; REDEVELOPMENT: Blaze sparks call to speed up demolition.

Byline: By Dayle Crutchlow

A FIRE which raged through a disused guesthouse near Coventry city centre was started deliberately, police have revealed.

Fire crews from Binley were scrambled to the former Arlon Guest House, in St Patrick's Road, at about 3.40pm on Saturday.

A severe fire raging in the first-floor front bedroom of the two-storey building, left the upper floor burnt out.

The guesthouse is one of several buildings in the area earmarked for demolition as part of a proposed pounds 23 million redevelopment.

Some 147 new homes are set to be built in the inner city area but people living and working nearby feel that the empty buildings are a magnet for firebugs and vandals.

Christine Ford, who owns the nearby Abigail guesthouse, said the situation was bad for business.

She said: "The owners of the Arlon moved out last November and squatters moved in. They were two couples and they were actually quite decent, but once they went you started getting rougher-looking types hanging around.

"They were coming in droves and it definitely affected business. I don't know when they the buildings are going to be knocked down, but it needs doing soon."

CAPTION(S):

FIRE DRAMA... Firefighters rush to deal with the blaze as flames shoot out of an upstairs window of the empty guesthouse in St Patrick's Road. Picture: Telegraph reader Joe Kerrigan
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 11, 2007
Words:228
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