The owners of an historic Keighley former textile mill that was hit by a massive blaze have vowed the property is still viable and open for business.

They spoke to the Keighley News yesterday as investigations continued into the suspected arson attack that wrecked part of Dalton Mills.

Police and fire service experts are probing the cause of the blaze, which swept through an empty wing of the Dalton Lane premises on Saturday night.

Chris Clarke, a fire investigation officer, said he and his colleagues were treating the incident as suspicious and were studying CCTV footage.

The mill complex, valued at £1.7 million, is owned by Magna Holdings.

Managing director Martin Whiteley said: “The fire brigade did a magnificent job of containing the fire and we’d like to thank them for that.

“Of course this is depressing but this could have been much worse.”

He said there was still a lot of business interest in the mill and he encouraged more companies to consider setting up shop in the building.

He added that part of the wing affected by the fire would be demolished for safety reasons.

Dalton Mills is part of the Airedale Masterplan, the regeneration blueprint for the Aire Valley.

Masterplan manager Paul North, said: “It’s an unfortunate start to the New Year. The council will continue to work with Magna Holdings to see how things can move forward.”

The property is the second building of its type in Keighley district to be hit by a major fire in less than five months. Ebor Mills, in Haworth, burned down on August 14.

A spokesman for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said yesterday that investigators did not believe the Haworth blaze was due to arson. She said they attributed that fire to a “complex chemical reaction” between metals and oils.