Van Mildert boathouse fire was deliberate

By Waseem Mohamed

Durham Fire and Rescue Service have confirmed that the fire which destroyed Van Mildert’s boathouse in December was caused deliberately.

A spokesperson for the fire service said “the incident at Van Mildert College on Tuesday, December 21, the building was completely burnt out and the attending Operational Firefighting Crews determined the fire was started deliberately.” The service could not confirm who exactly was to blame for the fire.

The statement comes as Van Mildert Boat Club launched a fundraiser page in the wake of the fire, which saw over £100,000 worth of equipment destroyed. Having set a target of raising £500, the Boat Club have now raised £9,600 thus far, which is in addition to further support the Club has been offered by the Durham Amateur Rowing Club.

On their GoFundMe page, the treasurer of Van Mildert Boat Club, Jess Scott, said the support had “left us completely floored with the generosity you have shown”, and that “it has been really touching to hear the fond memories of VMBC, Durham and rowing.” She also paid tribute to the “kind community” that has supported the Club in repairing the damages.

Palatinate have contacted Van Mildert Boat Club for comment on this recent development. Last month, the President of VMBC Rob Smith had said he was “devastated” by the fire but would be “working hard with college and authorities to get the club back up and running.”

The University meanwhile has already stated that “an investigation into the cause of this incident is underway and we will continue to work closely with Durham Constabulary and their experts as the investigation continues.” 

Image Credit – Jess Scott

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