Homes evacuated as arson attack damages yard used by volunteer group in Eastville Park
PEOPLE were evacuated from their homes after arsonists set fire to a yard used by a volunteering project in Eastville Park.
The blaze destroyed a pile of wood at the ParkWork Projects yard in the park, off Fishponds Road, as well as a conifer hedge at the side of the yard.
It also damaged nearby trees and scorched a storage container used by the group, which helps people find work by volunteering in parks to gain skills.
Firefighters were called shortly before 11pm yesterday after people living nearby spotted the flames.
Three crews were called out and spent around two hours extinguishing the blaze and making sure the area (pictured above) was safe.
An Avon Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said investigators believed the fire had been started deliberately.
Police have called on anyone with information about the fire to call 101, quoting crime reference number 5220 119 393.
A police spokesperson said: “A road closure was put in place and a number of people were evacuated from nearby properties as a precaution. They were soon able to return home and did not require alternative accommodation.
"CCTV enquiries will be carried out as part of our ongoing investigation into what happened.”
ParkWork is a non-profit organisation which carries out projects to improve parks and open spaces, while giving training, experience and skills to volunteers, to give them a better chance of finding a job.
Coordinator Joseph Mckenna said some dry wood in the yard had been set on fire, spreading to the hedge nearby, but that the mess would be tidied up and the hedge replanted.
He said: “Firstly, many thanks to whoever called the emergency services who acted very swiftly and got the fire under control before it could do huge damage to the adjacent timber clad dwellings and the rest of our yard.
“Secondly, many thanks to the emergency services themselves for outstanding job!
"Last of all, many thanks to Andrew Gee (Friends of Eastville Park) who was down here to help deal with it in the middle of the night."
Photo courtesy of ParkWork coordinator Joseph Mckenna