Arsonists set fire to Christian charity building

Arsonists set fire to a building belonging to a Christian charity in the Black Country.

Damage to the roof can be seen on the United Kingdom Knanaya Catholic Association building, Woodcross Lane, Bilston, after the fire
Damage to the roof can be seen on the United Kingdom Knanaya Catholic Association building, Woodcross Lane, Bilston, after the fire

The blaze took place at the United Kingdom Knanaya Catholic Association, in Woodcross Lane, Coseley, early on Wednesday.

The building's roof and toilet block were damaged by the flames but nobody was injured.

West Midlands Fire Service, which sent around 35 firefighters to tackle the blaze, believes the fire was started deliberately.

West Midlands Police sent forensic investigators to the scene in the aftermath of the blaze but no arrests have yet been made.

Drone photographs taken by the Express & Star showed damage to the rear of the building, with parts of the walls and roof left blackened.

Firefighters at the scene of the blaze on Wednesday morning. Photo: West Midlands Fire Service

The building used to be a working men's club but this closed around seven years ago and the building is now the base of he UKKCA, an association of Catholics which originated in Kottayam in India.

A spokesman for West Midlands Fire Service said: "At 2.47am on Wednesday, we responded to a severe fire in a disused working men’s club in Woodcross Lane, Lanesfield, Bilston.

"Six fire engines, an aerial hydraulic platform and around 35 personnel dealt with the fire which was contained to the rear of the premises.

"The roof and toilet block were damaged by fire, and half of the entire single-storey building affected by smoke.

"The fire was confirmed to be under control by around 6am and, a short while later, we started to scale down our resources at the scene.

"It is believed to have been started deliberately."

The UKKCA building used to be a social club on Woodcross Lane. Photo: Google

A police spokesman said the force was investigating the incident and confirmed the building belonged to a Catholic organisation.

United Kingdom Knanaya Catholic Association is a national charity registered with Charity Commission.

On its website, the charity says "members work together to support each other in handing over our faith to our children and young people in the Knanaya tradition".

It supports nearly 2,000 families across the UK.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact police quoting crime number is 20/1626486/21.

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