POLICE are investigating after a disused library in Middlesbrough burned down last night. (Monday, April 29).

Six fire engines and several police officers were called to Thorntree library, on Beresford Crescent, at 8.40pm. It took them more than an hour to put out the flames which had burned through the roof and completely gutted the inside of the building.

It is not yet known what caused the blaze.

A Cleveland police spokesman said: “Police and fire officers were present this morning and will be carrying out a joint investigation to determine the cause of the fire.”

The library closed last year as part of Middlesbrough’s cuts programme and was being demolished in order to be turned into extra care housing. It is not known if the investigation will set the project back.

A spokesman for Vela Group, the company who own the land, said: “We will be assessing the impact of the fire on our development of the site in due course.”

The scheme was due to provide much-needed accommodation as well as care and support services. The building was planned to include facilities available to the community, though details have yet to be confirmed.

Jo McKinsty, who works at the hairdresser’s across the street, said: “From what I’ve seen it is pretty badly burnt, you can see all the rafters. It’s been totally gutted.”

There was not thought to be anything of value inside the building at the time.