Firefighters battled an Eltham sports ground fire for nearly five hours yesterday in what police believe may have been an arson attack.

News Shopper: The fire was visible from Lewisham (pic by @ibf1)

A plume of black smoke was visible for miles around from the blaze at the Butterfly Club in Butterfly Lane.

News Shopper: The smoke was visible for miles around (by @iamrobtaylor)

Fire crews were called to the club - formerly the home of Eltham Town FC but now disused - at 3.04pm yesterday (May 18) and needed to set up a 25 metre hazard zone because f gas cylinders inside the building.

Engines from Eltham, Lewisham, Plumstead and East Greenwich attended, with around 21 firefighters having to fight the flames and cool down the cylinders to stop them potentially exploding.

News Shopper: Fire engines at the sports ground (by @TubeRambler)

The fire, also attended by the Met Police helicopter and local officers, was not under control until 7.49pm.

Afterwards, Eltham North Safer Neighbourhood Team's Sergeant Marianne Catmull tweeted: "Large fire today at the derelict Butterfly Lane Sports club. No one hurt but extensive damage to building. Sadly arson is the likely cause."