LONGVIEW social club in Huyton was ravaged by fire in a suspected arson attack overnight.
The club was reduced to smouldering rubble after firefighters considered it too dangerous to enter the building to tackle the blaze.
The roof collapsed shortly after crews went in to assess the scale of the fire, which they believe was started deliberately at around 7.30pm yesterday.
At its peak late last night, 50 firefighters were on site as flames threatened to spread to neighbouring homes in Ogle Way.
Early today two crews were still tending to the last remaining pockets of fire.
Huyton fire station watch manager Gary McQueen said: “When we got there, a lot of thick smoke was billowing out of the building and we had trouble getting in. The fire had really taken hold and we made the call that the conditions were too dangerous to risk having firefighters inside.”
“A couple of our guys in breathing equipment were trying to tackle the fire but we called everyone out for safety reasons.”
“The fire broke through the roof and it collapsed. Thankfully there were no injuries. Our investigation teams were there last night and today but we suspect deliberate ignition. There is not a lot of the social club left.”
Police cordoned off streets around the club as the flames took hold. Cooling water was hosed onto neighbouring homes to prevent the fire spreading.
A resident, who did not want to be named, added: “My son came in and told me what was going on. I came out and just saw the whole place up in flames. You could feel the heat coming off the fire. The fire engines were here straight away.”
A spokesman for Merseyside police said: “The fire is being treated as deliberately started and a joint investigation with Merseyside fire and rescue service is currently underway.”
Fire crews were due to leave the site later today.