A BLAZE, started in the female toilets at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, delaying yesterday’s Championship Grand Final.

Halifax fans were moved from the west stand onto the pitch during the televised game against Featherstone Rovers while fire alarms went off.

Firefighters were called at 6.05pm and led to the stand’s toilets where there was a lot of smoke. The blaze started in a cleaner’s cupboard next to a cubicle in the ladies toilets and damage was confined to the contents of the cupboard and surrounding pipework. Smoke was cleared from the stand using positive pressure fans but it was decided to move Halifax fans to the east stand.

An investigation found the cause of the fire was deliberate. Nobody was injured but the incident delayed the game for more than an hour while fans were evacuated onto the pitch.

John Turner, of Warrington’s blue watch, said: “The toilets were accessible to the general public at the time and due to the location and extent of the fire it would appear that it was lit from beneath the cubicle.

“The actions and procedures of the stadium staff were extemporary.

“On our arrival crews were directed to the incident without delay and the stadium was fully evacuated of over 1400 people in a calm and professional manner.

“I will be writing to the manager to convey our thanks to his staff on a job well done.”