A joint investigation has been launched by Surrey Fire and Surrey Police after a wheelie that is understood to have been set on fire deliberately spread to the dressing rooms of the 406-seat Epsom playhouse. Fire Crews from Epsom, Banstead,Esher, Leatherhead and an Aerial ladder platform from Painshill were called to the incident just after 2.30am. An Incident Command unit was also sent from Reigate. Police officers from Epsom and Ewell Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team closed off South Street to traffic in the town to assist Surrey Fire and Rescue who used the aerial ladder platform to gain access to the roof area at the rear of the playhouse.
A Fire source revealed that crews had been called to two other suspected arsons involving wheelie bin this week and they are now linking this incident and are working with officers from Surrey Police. Crews have been praised by managers and playhouse staff for their hard work and quick arrival in stopping the blaze from engulfing the building. It is understood that crews were committed into the building that was full of smoke in breathing apparatus with hose reels. Two teams of firefighters managed to salvage and rescue costumes moving them to other parts of the building after fire spread into the roofing area of dressing rooms. Whilst crews carried out salvage work internally others crews externally worked from ladders and the aerial ladder platform to removed tiles and foam layers from the rear of the pitched roof using cutting tools and a wrecking bar. Nearby works from Superdrug were also evacuated with crews tackled the blaze. The incident was scaled down just after 4am on Monday morning. Police and Fire investigation officers remain at the scene and a scene cordon with officers standing guard remains. Local CID officers have also been at the scene as an arson probe is launched. Surrey Police have been contacted for comment have have advised they will be issuing a join press statement with the fire service
Witnesses or anyone with information are asked to contact SurreyPolice on 101 Alternatively call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.