Arrests over fire at empty Morecambe pub

The aftermath of the fire at the Ranch House on July 1.
The aftermath of the fire at the Ranch House on July 1.

Two teenagers have been arrested after a fire at an empty pub.

Police said three teens from Morecambe were quizzed on suspicion of starting the blaze at the former Ranch House on July 1.

A 14-year-old boy from Morecambe has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage – arson not endangering life and assault. Another 14-year-old boy from Morecambe has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage – arson not endangering life. Both were bailed until August 4.

A 17-year-old boy from Morecambe voluntarily attended an interview on suspicion of criminal damage – arson not endangering life. He was released pending further enquiries.

Meanwhile it has emerged that potentially dangerous asbestos will have to be removed from the pub before it can be demolished to make way for a new restaurant and hotel as part of a planned £17m shopping park.

Asbestos has long been outlawed from new-build properties but remains in many older buildings, usually as a fireproofing or insulation material. While usually harmless, it can cause health risks if disturbed.

A Lancashire Fire and Rescue spokesman said the asbestos was not disturbed by the fire so there was no danger to the public. He said: “The asbestos was not involved in the area of the fire. If the fire had reached it, we have strategies in place to deal with it.”

A spokesman for site owners Morrisons said: “The site has been secured with new hoardings and we are working with specialist contractors to safely remove the asbestos.”

A Lancaster City Council spokesman said: “The owners of the site have been liaising with the Health and Safety Executive regarding demolition. Once those discussions have reached a satisfactory conclusion, the Ranch House can be demolished.”
Planning permission was granted for the new retail park at the former Frontierland fairground in November 2014. Developers Opus North originally aimed to start work in autumn 2015 but the scheme has been hit with delays.

See our story from July 4 in the aftermath of the Ranch House fire HERE