Hose village hall could be closed for up to six months following a fire in the building this morning (Thursday), the committee chairman fears.
Two crews from Melton and one from Leicester’s Eastern station attended the incident, on Harby Lane, at 6.50am, after the blaze broke out around the stage area.
The building, which is 50 years old next November, had only recently been decorated and £4,000 had been spent on new curtains.
It is a huge blow for the community since the the hall is regularly used for village school PE sessions, exercise classes. music concerts, drama performances and caravan club get-togethers, as well as family celebrations and parties.
Village hall committee chair, Brian Keevil, told the Melton Times: “This is going to have a major impact on the community.
“I’m no expert but I don’t see this being a three-month closure, it is more likely to be around six months.
“We are now waiting to hear back from the insurance company and to find out whether we can repair the building or if we have to start again with a new build.”
A villager alerted the fire brigade after spotting smoke coming from the hall early this morning. Mr Keevil was then informed and he went to inspect the damage as fire crews battled to contain the blaze. As well as extensive internal damage, there is a small hole in the roof where the fire got up to it.
It is hoped Hose Baptist Chapel, St Michael and All Angels Parish Church and the bowls club pavilion will be able to host some of the upcoming community events.
Mr Keevil said: “We are trying now to make sure we provide alternative facilities for people to use.
“We have a lot of big events coming up, such as the Hose Feast, the bonfire night and our Christmas carol concert in December, so it couldn’t have happened at a worse time.”
The village hall committee met only last night to discuss ideas for next year’s 50th anniversary of the hall but there is now a race against time to get it rebuilt and reopened for that.
Incident commander for Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service was Melton Fire Station watch manager, Simon Lee, who confirmed that the hall had sustained significant damage from the fire.
He said: “The fire broke out in the early of the morning in or around the staging area and we believe the cause was an electrical fault.
“There was a lot of smoke logging and soot damage to the main fabric of the hall and this will render it being out of action for a considerable period of time.”
Fire crews used four sets of breathing apparatus and two hose reel jets to extinguish the fire and positive pressure ventilation fans were operated to clear the smoke from the hall.