A COMMUNITY has spoken of its shock in the aftermath of a major blaze at a historic building.

Crews from fire stations across the district were scrambled to the former care home at the St Ives estate, Harden.

An arson probe is underway following the blaze, which occurred last Tuesday night.

The building is extensively damaged.

Vision Home Group, which owns the property, says there has been a number of incidents over recent months at the site and that it has taken “every precaution” to safeguard the building.

Bradford Council leased the property in 1984 and the mansion was last occupied by St Ives Disabled Care Centre, which shut in 2016.

The 28 residents were rehomed and the property was sold that July.

Bradford Council says the mansion house lease is now held by “several parties”.

But it adds that the main 19th-century building, the mansion house and grounds – as opposed to the cottages and immediate gardens – are held by a single tenant.

A council spokesperson said: “Estate officers have had a number of meetings with the tenant to discuss immediate security and maintenance concerns and explore a long-term future for the building appropriate to its setting.

“The tenant has taken steps to secure the premises but we await firm proposals for its future use and development.”

Pam Laking, chair of the Friends of St Ives, said the fire had left the community distressed.

“Everyone is heartbroken and people feel very vulnerable,” she said.

“I was phoned on the Tuesday night to tell me the building was on fire.

“It is so sad because parts of that building are hundreds of years old.”

Vision Home Group said: “We are extremely shocked and horrified by the incident.

“We would like to thank the emergency services for the prompt action taken.

“We'd also like to thank the Friends of St Ives and neighbours for reporting the fire before we could get onsite.”

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police said: “Enquires remain ongoing with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service into the cause of the fire and a crime of arson has been recorded.

“Anyone who has information or saw suspicious activity at the location at around 6.30pm on Tuesday, March 5, is asked to contact Bradford CID on 101 or online at westyorkshire.police.uk/livechat, quoting police crime reference 13240123883.

“Information can also be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”