POLICE are treating a fire that ripped through a Goldsworth Park children’s nursery as suspicious.
The blaze in the early hours of Sunday completely gutted the Toad Hall part of the building exactly two weeks after an arson attack on Mayford Village Hall, which was also home to a pre-school.
Six fire engine crews tackled the flames at the Wishbone Way nursery at about 4.20am, containing the blaze to prevent it spreading to the other part of Goldwater Lodge which houses the Goldsworth Park Community Association.
Two fire engines from Woking, one from Chobham, two from Guildford and one from Camberley, along with an aerial ladder platform and appliance from Chertsey and the incident command unit from Painshill arrived at the scene.
The entire building has been cordoned off and is out of action while safety checks are being made and the lodge is being made secure.
Goldsworth Park Community Association secretary Irene Watson said: “The police had to break in so the doors are being boarded up. No one can use the building at the moment as all services – gas, electricity – have been affected by the blaze.
“We are all very sad that this has happened. The football club changing rooms may be back in operation later but it’s too early to say yet how long we will be out of action. We’ve been in touch will all the people who use the hall.
“Hopefully, we’ll be getting back into our part of the building in the not-too-distant future but the other part that houses the nursery has been much more severely affected. I know the staff are doing their best to find alternative places for the children.
“My husband, the chairman of GPCA, Ian Rickard, is with the council safety officers looking at the damage.”
Goldsworth East Lib-Dem councillor Amanda Coulson said: “We got a phone call on Sunday morning and went to see the building. Nursery staff had already been to rescue their files and fire officers were investigating.
“We were very very shocked. There are rumours the fire started outside not inside the lodge.
“We’ve had a lot of calls from very upset parents. The building falls on the boundary of Goldsworth West ward, of which my husband Denzil is a councillor, along with Ian Eastwood. He was one of the first on the scene and alerted us.
“We will make every effort to ensure our community buildings are protected. We want to reassure the community that we are taking it very seriously. We are arranging for fire department representatives to give talks to the local schools.”
Goldsworth West Cllr Eastwood said: “I was there for three-and-a-half hours on Sunday, just before 8am.
“The sea cadets’ building next door has CCTV so, assuming it’s arson, it’s hopeful the police can identify the culprits.
“It has been a great example of the community working together. The sea cadets have been very accommodating, covering 90 per cent of the GPCA bookings.
“The GPCA part of the building has minimal damage but I would estimate it could be three to six months before the nursery can get back on its feet to reopen.
“I think the staff are looking at other local nurseries around to place the children.”
At about 3pm before the Goldwater Lodge blaze crews tackled a tree fire in Tolvaddon, Goldsworth Park, which is also being treated as suspicious.
Police have appealed for any witnesses who saw anything suspicious to contact them. An investigation is under way into the cause of the blaze, which started at about 4am.
Officers are appealing for witnesses and anyone with any information is asked to contact Surrey Police on 101, quoting incident reference P12352573.