Family business goes up in flames after Northampton events boat destroyed in suspected arson attack

The Ark was set on fire in a suspected arson attack last week.
The Ark was set on fire in a suspected arson attack last week.

A Northampton family whose floating bar and restaurant was destroyed in a suspected arson attack say they are "just trying to get things back on track".

The Ark - billed as Northampton's only 'floating venue' and moored up the Nene off Midsomer Meadows - has been left in ruins after a devastating fire last week.

The boat is billed as Northampton's only floating venue.

The boat is billed as Northampton's only floating venue.

The 23-metre long boat should be bustling this summer season with space for up to 120 people for weddings, parties and discos - but events organiser Hema Patel says she has been forced to cancel dozens of events.

She said: "It's been so upsetting. It's a family business and we put a lot of time into what we do. The fire has undone all of that."

Between 5.30pm on June 15 and 4am on June 16, wheelie bins, a skip and three tents were targetted in a suspected spree of arson.

Hema and her family were awoken by a monitoring alarm at around 2.40am on June 16. They rushed to The Ark to find fire engines battling an onboard blaze.

The fire has caused over 20,000 of damage and will take months tor repair.

The fire has caused over 20,000 of damage and will take months tor repair.

Hema said: "It will cost £20,000 just for the clean up alone. I've had to call up customers and cancel their events. I'm so sorry to let them down like that so close to their events.

"We're just trying to get things moving as fast as we can."

Hema and her family hope to have The Ark shipshape again in under eight weeks.

Northamptonshire Police are appealing for witnesses and anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area during the times stated to report it on 101, or they can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

A 32-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a number of overnight fires in the area on June 16.

A 32-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a number of overnight fires in the area on June 16.

Officers are also trying to locate the owners of the tents affected by the fires, in a wooded area just off Bedford Road at the Barns Meadow interchange, and a asking them to contact police on 101.

A 32-year-old man from Horsemarket - Brendan Gaughan - has been charged in connection with a number of overnight fires in the Bedford Road and Cliftonville Road area.

Events manager Hema Patel says the attack on her family's business has been "so upsetting."

Events manager Hema Patel says the attack on her family's business has been "so upsetting."