Teenager arrested in connection with blaze at Joanna’s

112835-1144  FIRE SOUTHSEA (NEWS) MRW 10/8/2011''Firefighters still at the scene of a fire opposite South Parade Pier in Southsea - the ex-Joanna's nightclub venue '''Picture: Malcolm Wells (112835-1144)
112835-1144 FIRE SOUTHSEA (NEWS) MRW 10/8/2011''Firefighters still at the scene of a fire opposite South Parade Pier in Southsea - the ex-Joanna's nightclub venue '''Picture: Malcolm Wells (112835-1144)
The Co-op store where the incident took place

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A 17-YEAR-OLD boy was arrested on suspicion of arson after derelict Southsea nightclub Joanna’s was destroyed in a blaze.

Police quizzed the teenager on Saturday in connection with the fire, which broke out at the South Parade building.

He was later released without charge.

Police and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service are still probing the cause of the fire and have not ruled out arson.

As reported in The News, specialist teams were called in to trawl through rubble at the site to check no-one was trapped inside the building when the blaze broke out.

An exclusion zone remains around the site and the road directly outside South Parade Pier is still closed in both directions.

Remains of the former nightclub are expected to be demolished later this week. Now police are renewing their appeal for witnesses.

Portsmouth Chief Inspector Richard Taylor said: ‘We’re keeping an open mind about how this fire started. We must explore and examine every line of inquiry thoroughly and this means a criminal motive cannot be ruled out.

‘As part of the police investigation, we needed to ensure that no people were in the building at the time of the fire. A routine search of the rubble was completed and we’re satisfied that there is no evidence at the moment to suggest this was the case.’

He added: ‘As a result of our previous appeal, detectives have now identified and spoken with a blonde woman who was near the scene of the fire last Tuesday evening. She is not suspected of any crime and we’d like to thank her for coming forward to help our inquiries.’

Meanwhile a week after the blaze took hold at about 6pm last Tuesday some evacuated residents are still in temporary accommodation provided by Portsmouth City Council. The Salvation Army to provide free hot meals to residents affected. Call CID at Fratton station on 101.