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Cinema Blaze Witness Appeal

Detectives are appealing for anyone who was in a Leamington cinema before a fire broke out to come forward as they might have vital information.

They are calling on people watching films in the Apollo cinema in Portland Place to contact them as they might be able to help them with their enquiries.

A fire caught hold of the building shortly before 4pm on Monday. Staff quickly evacuated more than 150 cinema-goers, and no-one was injured.

Damage to the cinema is estimated at around 250,000 and the building will be closed for weeks while repairs to the auditoria and roof are carried out.

Det Insp George Stepney, who is leading the investigation, said the fire was started deliberately in the bar area of the cinema.

He said a large cardboard cut-out was set alight and the flames quickly spread.

A 17-year-old girl has been arrested in connection with the fire, but has been released on bail.

Det Insp Stepney appealed for anyone who was in the building at the time to come forward, even if they do not think they have anything to tell police.

He said:

“We are particularly appealing for adults sitting at the back of the auditorium to come forward. They might be able to tell us if anyone left before the fire started, or if anyone didn’t leave.

“Both positive or negative information like that will be useful to us.”

He said he was sure that the person responsible for the fire had been in the cinema for a legitimate reason before starting the blaze.

He added:

“This importance of this investigation is this incident could have resulted in a tragic outcome

“The fact that it didn’t is credit to the cinema staff. That ought to be a lesson to other big companies in the area.”

Anyone with any information can call police on 01926 415748 or 01926 415000.

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CWN / Arts & Entertainment / Cinemas / Apollo / 20 Apr 00

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