A fire which completely destroyed a building at Queen’s Park Annexe in Chesterfield is being treated as a suspected arson attack.
A separate blaze at Chesterfield’s old magistrates’ court on West Bars is also believed to have been started deliberately.
Police said the incidents – which both happened within 20 minutes of each other last night – may be linked.
The Queen’s Park Annexe building – which was used to store sports equipment including wooden boats – was reduced to rubble by the fire.
Firefighters from Chesterfield, Staveley and Clay Cross were called to the Boythorpe Road site at about 10.55pm and spent three hours fighting the flames. Police said it was “ablaze from end to end”.
A spokesman for Derbyshire fire service said: “The incident involved a blaze in the sports building which was well alight.
“Firefighters used three main lines to put out the fire.”
A spokesman for Chesterfield Borough Council said: “The fire was at a building on the Queen’s Park Annexe site. Queen’s Park and Queen’s Park Sports Centre are both open as usual today.”
The annexe site sits across the road from the main park and sports centre. It has been earmarked by the council as the location for the new Queen’s Park Leisure Centre, with building work expected to begin by the end of the year.
Twenty minutes earlier, at 10.35pm, firefighters from Chesterfield and Staveley were called to a blaze at Chesterfield’s old magistrates’ court.
It is understood a wheelie bin had been set alight and pushed up against the building, causing the flames to spread.
Damage was done to the outside of the building.
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.