Antonio Hall was 'a beautiful old building in need of repair'

Fire and Emergency is treating a fire at a decrepit Christchurch building as suspicious.

Investigators will arrive at the building in Riccarton on Saturday morning to look into the cause of the fire. A small team remained at the scene of the fire overnight dampening down hot spots.

It is believed many will be saddened by the loss of the Christchurch heritage building, which used to house university students.

Antonio Hall went up in flames on Friday night, causing the evacuation of 50 nearby properties. Riccarton Ward Councillor Vicki Buck says the building has not been kept in good condition.

"It is a beautiful old building that certainly doesn't look like it's undergone major repairs since the earthquake, so it's a beautiful old building in need of repair."

Crews were called to the scene about 5:20pm, and it took 16 engines to get the blaze under control.

Buck says many former students will have good memories of Antonio Hall, a gothic mansion that's been left to fall into disrepair. 

"This was a place where many people at Canterbury University, pre-quake, would have lived in - so it will have, for a lot of people, a lot of memories."

But she admits the wider public will have mixed views about the loss.

"I think people will have different views on it. It's been a long time not being repaired, and sometimes that influences people's views of buildings."

No one was injured in the fire. 

One fire crew was still there dampening down hotspots on Saturday morning, and fire investigators will be at the scene. 



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