Hastings Old Town fire: Police treating blaze at former amusement arcade as arson

A fire at a former amusement arcade in the Old Town is being treated as arson, police have confirmed today (Monday, January 30).

The blaze broke out at the building in George Street on Wednesday, January 18.

Firefighters were called to the scene just after 7.15pm, with up to 10 pumps spending all night tackling the blaze. Residents in nearby properties also had to be evacuated.

Firefighters were still at the scene early the next morning and the road had to be closed off to traffic until later that day.

Today, a Sussex Police spokesperson said: “Police were called to assist East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service with a fire at a former nightclub in George Street, Hastings, on Wednesday, January 18. Following enquiries, the fire is now being treated as deliberate ignition. An investigation is under way.”

The Rainbow Restaurant, in Sturdee Place, suffered extensive damage as a result of the fire.

On the Rainbow Restaurant’s Facebook page, its owners said on Friday (January 27): “Unfortunately we won’t be able to open the Rainbow Restaurant for at least six months. It is far too dangerous to start rebuilding until the arcade is pulled down. We will miss all our lovely customers and look forward to welcoming you all back as soon as possible.”

Since the fire, the restaurant’s owners have received an outpouring of support from the community. A JustGiving page has been set up in aid of the restaurant’s owners to help them with costs. As of today (January 30), £1,500 had been raised so far.

“We at the Rainbow Restaurant have received so much love and support and lots of offers to help. We’re very grateful. Thank you,” owners on the restaurant’s Facebook page said.

The three-storey building in George Street used to operate as an amusement arcade and once housed a nightclub.

The building was sold for redevelopment into 20 flats in November last year. Planning permission was then sought to demolish the building to make way for four commercial units and 21 flats. But the application has since been withdrawn.

The Just Giving page in aid of the Rainbow Restaurant can be found at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kellyanne-merry.