A FIRE at a Victorian city landmark was caused deliberately.

Fire investigators confirmed their findings at the British Engineerium yesterday.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was called to the blaze in Hove at 5.40pm last Thursday.

Flames were seen scaling the side of the chimney at the Engineerium with thick black smoke billowing into the sky.

Four fire engines, including one from Shoreham, were joined by an aerial ladder platform from Worthing and an incident command unit from Bexhill to tackle the blaze.

The area was cordoned off over fears a gas canister among the flames could cause an explosion.

In the end a wooden shed was destroyed and brickwork on the 149-year-old Engineerium was blackened.

Mike Holland, who owns the Engineerium, told The Argus: “We are very lucky it didn’t cause any major structural damage.

“It’s distressing to learn somebody would deliberately start a fire there.”

He said he was at a loss as to why someone would target the Engineerium.

Mr Holland said: “I have no idea why someone would do that. Perhaps it was kids.

“You do your best to do something for the city and then someone does something like that. It’s a great shame.”

Investigators took evidence away to see if any kind of accelerant had been used in the fire and police studied CCTV but could not see anybody breaking in.

Mr Holland praised the emergency services: “Thank goodness the fire service and police turned up as promptly as they did. We should be grateful for them.

“We got off very lightly indeed – had the wind been blowing in the opposite direction it could have been a very different matter.”

He said the fire would not stop restoration work for next year’s 150th anniversary.

Meanwhile investigators are still working to establish how a fire broke out almost simultaneously in Brighton.

It is believed a fire on a building above the Bathstore in Gloucester Road started in one corner of the roof area and spread to wooden decking.

At the height of the incident seven fire engines from Brighton, Roedean, Seaford and Barcombe were sent along with a command unit from Lewes.

A fire service spokeswoman said it would not have answers until after the weekend.

DC Kerri Bartup, of Sussex Police, said: “We are appealing to anyone who might have been in the area and seen anything suspicious.

“It was a busy time of day just off a busy road. Anyone with information which might help is asked to contact police on 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk quoting serial 1275 of June 11.”