A DEVASTATING fire has torn through a thatched tennis club pavilion built in the 1950s.
Bosses at the Thorpe Bay Lawn Tennis Club have been left shocked after the late night blaze destroyed the former junior pavilion.
The outbuilding, which had been used for storage by the groundsman, went up in flames on Sunday night.
The club’s equipment inside, including tennis rackets and balls and the groundsman’s ride-on mower, have all been lost in the fire.
The building, which had a thatched roof, had been used as a pavilion for junior members up until 2016.
Paul Marks, in charge of the club’s facilities, told the Echo two of the 16 courts will have to be closed to stop players inhaling smoke. The 58-year-old said: “It’s a real shame. It was a feature of the club.
“We used to have four of the thatched pavilions, this was the last one standing.
“All of our lessons will be taking place as normal. People have been coming back to tennis a lot more since lockdown.
“We’re thankful nobody was hurt.
“We believe it’s an electrical fault, and police have told us it wasn’t arson or caused by vandalism.
“They also ruled out a rogue firework landing on the roof.
“We will need a new building now because the groundsman keeps everything going.”
The club is in touch with their insurers.
Firefighters were called to the scene in Thorpe Bay at around 10.30pm, with the fire extinguished three hours later.
A spokesman from the fire service said: “Firefighters were called to a fire involving a outbuilding in Thorpe Bay.
“When fire crews arrived they reported that the building, which has a thatched roof, was completely on fire.
“Firefighters managed to extinguish the fire by 1.20am.
“One crew stayed at the scene for a further few hours to ensure all hot spots were fully extinguished.
“An investigation will be carried out to find the cause of the fire.”
Paul thanked the fire service and police for their work in extinguishing the fire, adding: “We stood and watched them work for four hours.
“The club are so grateful to them.”