THE blaze at Woodside Hotel on Wednesday is still being investigated, with Merseyside Fire Service refusing to rule out the possibility of arson.
Four crews attended the derelict building at around 1.40pm to try and extinguish the flames ripping through the first floor, second floor and roof of the hotel.
They stayed on scene for more than four hours, using hoses to attack from the sides as well as an aerial platform to douse the flames from above.
Fortunately, the three-storey building was unoccupied and nobody was injured during the incident.
But the blaze, the second of the summer, has raised questions around a key area of land for developers.
Peach Developments own the Woodside Hotel and in May 2007, a deal to proceed with the multi-million pound regeneration of the Mersey waterfront site was agreed.
The development would stretch from Woodside and lead into the architecturally renowned Hamilton Square.
On June 4 this year, the hotel was hit by arson, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage and leaving the building in a poor state.
Suspicions were aroused when it was discovered fires had been started in different areas of the building, often an indicator of foul play.
The case was handed over to Merseyside Police, who investigated the incident and arrested an 18-year-old the next day, June 5, but no charges were made.
Now the structure of the hotel has been shaken further and bulldozers have been moved on to the site in anticipation of the possibility of demolition.
Results were expected yesterday from an assessment made since the fire, but were unavailable at the time of going to press
A director for Birkenhead firm Total Demolition declined to comment.
Wirral Council heritage spokesman Cllr Jerry Williams stressed the importance of an “iconic Birkenhead building”.
Cllr Williams told the News: “The Woodside area is now becoming more and more important for tourism.
“This is an extremely important building and it would be very sad to see it demolished.
“It just depends how much damage has been done to the core of the building.”
A spokesman for Wirral Council confirmed Peach Developments would need planning permission to demolish, if such action was deemed necessary.