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Arrest made after arson attack on charity building

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A burnt doorway at the Pembroke Parish Council side of a building under conversion into a shelter for homeless families (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)
A burnt doorway at the Pembroke Parish Council side of a building under conversion into a shelter for homeless families (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

A man arrested after an arson attack at a charity is also being investigated in connection with a string of suspicious fires that has plagued the area, police said yesterday.

The arrest was helped by a network of cameras provided by security firms to protect the Transformational Living Centre, which is under construction at Parson’s Road, Pembroke.

Sheelagh Cooper, the chairwoman of Habitat for Humanity of Bermuda, which is creating the shelter for mothers and their children with the Women’s Resource Centre, said: “We’re strongly fortified thanks to a huge outpouring of support from the community.

“We have a highly sophisticated security system, including some of the best cameras on the market.”

Ms Cooper said the cameras had also helped police investigate another fire started nearby.

She added: “It’s been a real asset, not just to this building but to the community.”

A police spokesman said the building was targeted in the early hours of April 20.

Staff said the premises had been secure when they left the night before.

But a door to the building was found damaged by fire on their return the next day.

The police spokesman said: “The suspect in this matter is also being investigated in connection with the recent spate of suspicious fires in the Parsons Road vicinity.

“Meanwhile, a second suspect has been arrested in connection with the fire which destroyed the playground equipment at Pig’s Field on April 11.“

The TLC is being constructed in part of a building donated by the Pembroke Parish Council.

Ms Cooper said the intruder on the property targeted the side of the property still owned by the council.

But she added: “Having said that, if it spread it could have burnt down the TLC as well.

“It’s worrying to think what could have happened. Fortunately, the attempt was made on a rainy night.

“But the building is now very well protected, and we are feeling confident it will be a very secure place for our families.”

Ms Cooper added: “The Pembroke Parish Council have given us this building at no cost and we continue to be incredibly grateful for their willingness to partner with us.”

An outside door at the building is still badly charred by the fire.

But Ms Cooper said construction work was about 85 per cent complete.

Police set up a special task force in March to investigate a string of suspicious fires that involved buildings and vehicles in the area.

The spokesman said investigations into the incidents continued.

Anyone with information is asked to call 295-0011.

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