Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Fire badly damages charity pool

Fire has badly damaged a swimming pool complex at a children's charity centre in Somerset.

The blaze also burned down outbuildings at the British Institute for Brain Injured Children (Bibic) in Bawdrip.

Crews stopped the fire spreading to the main building - Knowle Hall - and an investigation has begun into the cause.

The charity's chief executive John Bennett said he saw smoke rising from the back of the building as he arrived for work on Tuesday morning.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service has ruled out arson as the cause of the fire.

"We're just devastated because this is part of what Bibic does with families and we've lost this fantastic facility now," he said.

Ceiling collapsed

"We caught it just in time. Had I been another 10 or 15 minutes later, according to the fire department, it would have gained a hold on the main building which is an 1804 build, which would have been a sad loss."

The ceiling of the 19-year-old complex has collapsed down into the pool leaving a "charred mess" and only the four walls remain, he said.

"It forms part of our main therapy with the children," said Mr Bennett.

"It's a sensory swimming pool, it has lights and music. It's such a shame."

Staff were keen to continue with "business as usual", he added.

Bibic supports youngsters with learning and behavioural difficulties and cares for children with autism, cerebral palsy, and Down's syndrome.

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Rye and Battle Observer Blaze at children's charity centre - 18 hrs ago
Bristol Evening Post Fire rips through kids charity centre - 22 hrs ago
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