Two men arrested for arson after fire at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s old gym in Forest Gate

The building damaged by fire on Romford Road, Forest Gate.

The building damaged by fire on Romford Road, Forest Gate. - Credit: Sandra Rowse

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of arson after a building, where Arnold Schwarzenegger trained in the 1960s, caught fire.

Arnold Schwarzenegger when he visited the capital ahead of the London Olympics

Arnold Schwarzenegger when he visited the capital ahead of the London Olympics - Credit: PA

The two men, reported to have been squatting at the former Wag Bennett’s gym on Romford Road, Forest Gate, were taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation after the fire, which happened in the early hours of Saturday.

One of the men had been rescued by firefighters from the roof of the two storey house while the other had escaped the fire before the London Fire Brigade arrived. According to a police spokeswoman the two men have now been arrested on suspicion of arson.

Around 60 firefighters tackled the fire which took about four hours to bring under control.

The roof of the building was destroyed while around half of the ground floor and half of the first floor was damaged in the blaze.


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The building, where Mr Schwarzenegger trained before becoming the youngest ever Mr Universe, aged 20, and going on to become a Hollywood star, best know for films such as ‘The Terminator’, and later becoming Governor of California. is believed to have been standing disused.

Station Manager Daniel Alie, who was at the scene, said: “Crews rescued a man from the rear of the house using a ladder.

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Our fire investigation unit is now working to find out what caused the blaze.”

Eight fire engines from Leytonstone, East Ham, Plaistow, Stratford, and Bow fire stations attended the call, with an aerial ladder platform and a fire rescue unit.

The Brigade was called at 03.09am and the fire was under control at 07.27am.

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