Two Teens Charged with Arson in Historic Dalton Mills Fire

Two 17-year-olds charged with arson for devastating fire at historic Dalton Mills in England, a key site for local regeneration efforts. Community hopes to restore the landmark despite the damage.

Rizwan Shah
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Two Teens Charged with Arson in Historic Dalton Mills Fire

Two Teens Charged with Arson in Historic Dalton Mills Fire

Two 17-year-old boys have been charged with arson in connection with a fire that ravaged the historic Dalton Mills in Keighley, England, in March 2022. The Grade II-listed building, constructed in 1869, has served as a filming location for popular television series such as Peaky Blinders and Downton Abbey.

The fire, which broke out on March 3, 2022, required West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service crews to spend several days at the scene battling the blaze. The incident resulted in significant damage to the Victorian mill, leaving the main building as an empty shell.

In addition to the two charged teenagers, three other individuals, including two 17-year-olds and an 18-year-old, were arrested at the time of the incident. However, they have since been released without charge. The two accused boys have been bailed to appear at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court on April 29.

Prior to the arson, the Dalton Mills had undergone partial restoration, with the clock tower being renovated as office and studio space. The owner, Northamptonshire businessman Paul Harris, purchased the disused mill in 2013 with plans to transform it into an arts, cultural, and Asian wedding venue. However, the main building had not been fully restored before the fire occurred.

In the aftermath of the blaze, the Keighley Town Council struggled to contact the owner, and a year later, no plans had been submitted to secure the mill's future. Despite the roof collapsing, building inspectors determined that the structure did not need to be demolished. The council stated that numerous regeneration projects were ongoing in Keighley, with Dalton Mills being considered a key site.

Why this matters: The arson at Dalton Mills not only destroyed a historic landmark but also dealt a blow to the local community's efforts to revitalize the area. The incident highlights the importance of preserving cultural heritage sites and the challenges faced in protecting them from criminal acts.

The two teenage suspects, whose identities have not been released due to their age, will face legal consequences for their alleged actions. "We have now charged two 17-year-old boys with arson in relation to this incident," stated a spokesperson for the West Yorkshire Police. As the case progresses through the courts, the community of Keighley remains hopeful that the Dalton Mills can be restored and play a vital role in the town's ongoing regeneration efforts.

Key Takeaways

  • Two 17-year-old boys charged with arson for Dalton Mills fire
  • Historic mill in Keighley, England, suffered significant damage
  • Dalton Mills was a filming location for TV shows like Peaky Blinders
  • Owner planned to transform mill into arts, cultural, and wedding venue
  • Incident highlights challenges in preserving cultural heritage sites