A COMMUNITY building has been gutted after a devastating fire which it is feared could have been arson.

Firecrews were called to the village's disused bowls club, near to Parkeston Railway Club, in Hamilton Street, on Saturday morning.

Three crews from Dovercourt and Clacton arrived at the scene at around 10.34am.

On arrival it was found the fire had started outside of the premises, but spread to the building due to strong winds.

Firefighters managed to extinguish the fire by around 11.30am, however roughly 75 per cent of the premises was destroyed in the blaze.

The cause of the fire has been recorded as accidental, deliberate or both.

Last year, Parkeston Residents' Association finished converting the disused building into a community hub for residents.

Parkeston Dining Club, the parish council and other community groups all used the premises on a regular basis.

Bill Davidson, chairman of the Parkeston Residents' Association, said he was in shock following the fire.

"The building has been completely gutter by the fire," he said.

"If people have done it on purpose it is disgraceful.

"We help people from the age of eight to 80 and these people have hurt the community."

READ MORE: Community building almost completely destroyed by fire

Resident Shaun Moore was driving past the premises when he saw smoke coming from the building.

He said: "We went to investigate and we saw the fire. My girlfriend called the fire service straight away.

"My adrenaline kicked in and I went to make sure everyone was safe first of all.

"I went to have a look and the only person there was a gardener from the social club.

"It was pretty scary and the fire was extremely hot.

"The fire service arrived within five minutes. It got a lot worse from when we arrived and it is a good job they turned up so quickly.

"There must have been considerable damaged caused.

"There were conifer and fir trees nearby which caught alight."

Mr Davidson said the residents' association would require help to get the club back up and running in the future once it was ready.

He said: "We will need a team of volunteers soon to help clear up the mess and get things going again."

If you can help contact Mr Davidson on 07506 212377.