The City of London, a municipality that sits over one of the wealthiest regions in the world, decided to fire up a new generator to power the clubhouse at Kings Dock Golf and Country Club, which houses an exclusive hostel for homeless asylum seekers.
“Staff at the private course building decided to use the generator for extra power at the clubhouse that powers the hostel,” a London Fire Brigade spokesperson told News.com.au. “During the early hours of Wednesday 31st December, the second power cut occurred and was due to fuel drying out in the generator.”
A fire broke out from the fumes, and when firefighters arrived, the clubhouse was fully ablaze. Fire crews were able to make enough headway and quickly extinguished the flames.
Despite the damage, all nine of the buildings were set to be back in use in three days.
“The ground floor, which was the focus of the fire and damaged by embers, suffered some water damage but the main areas had escaped any fire damage and all occupants were accounted for,” the firefighter said.
City of London employee Jeremy Fitzwater, 29, was arrested after being released from jail the next day. He was charged with arson after a fire was set to torch the clubhouse at Kings Dock Golf and Country Club.
“Fire service investigations have not revealed any particular cause,” the firefighter said. “As such, criminal offences have not been established.”
Fitzwater also faces a charge of criminal damage as well as drink driving after he was caught driving at 0.18 at 1:13 am on January 4, according to a statement from the London Police Force.
Sources tell News.com.au he is likely to be released on bail soon.
“The City of London is a wonderful place to live, work and study, but the same cannot be said for a lot of our homeless people,” Craig MacEwan, secretary of the Parkfield Homeless Hostel, told News.com.au. “If they had a power generator, the hostel would have been spared the loss of furniture, bathroom equipment and bedding, and would not have had to rely on volunteers for help so freely.”
Gale Anne Sinclair, former news anchor and wife of the late legendary media mogul and “60 Minutes” legend Andy Rooney, has been a guest of Parkfield for years.
“This isn’t charity, this is mandatory,” she told News.com.au. “It’s crazy that they are starting firecrackers in this day and age. It’s obviously a more significant fire than just the loss of furniture.”
The fire wasn’t the first in the United Kingdom since the electrical issue at the golf course. A fire at the site on December 18 was started accidentally, too.
However, the police and fire service can’t say for sure if the fire was caused by the generator.
Police arrested Fitzwater, as well as a 47-year-old man, in connection with the December 18 fire.
This is the City of London. They seem to have a problem with sleep. — James Titcomb (@jamestitcomb) December 28, 2018
We’ve been there – I’ve been there – at various times – and I know what you’re about to hear is not true. No such thing exists in the United Kingdom. It’s not even that hard to burn papers. It’s just a stupid rule to get people to get a night off. — Joshua Benton (@joshua_benton) December 28, 2018