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Blaze at former Pontins holiday camp in Hemsby, near Great Yarmouth being treated as arson

PUBLISHED: 13:31 24 September 2017

Firefighters from Norfolk damping down following the blaze in Hemsby. Pictures: Mick Howes

Firefighters from Norfolk damping down following the blaze in Hemsby. Pictures: Mick Howes

Archant

A fire at a derelict coastal holiday resort is being investigated as arson.

Firefighters from Norfolk damping down following the blaze in Hemsby. Pictures: Mick HowesFirefighters from Norfolk damping down following the blaze in Hemsby. Pictures: Mick Howes

Six fire crews battled an early morning blaze at the former Pontins holiday centre site in Beach Road, Hemsby on Saturday.

About 40 firefighters from Martham, Stalham, Wroxham, Carrow, Gorleston and Great Yarmouth were called out at about 5.10am to tackle the blaze in the roof area of a former function room, believed to be part of the old entertainments complex.

The 2,440-capacity camp in Hemsby had once played host to thousands of holidaymakers.

However having been empty since 2008 when Pontin’s closed it “following a period of sustained operating losses”, the site has suffered from reported vandalism as it remains derelict.

Jonathan Wilby, station manager at Great Yarmouth, said: “We were called to the site just after 5am. Initial reports came in as a fire in the open, so one appliance from Martham attended and found the building was well alight.

“They asked for extra resources and in the end we had six fire crews along with support vehicles, the area ladder platform, the water carrier plus a control unit. There were around about 40 firefighters.

“We carried out an aggressive, offensive attack to stop the fire from worsening in the building that was successful. The initial crews did a fantastic job to stop it from spreading further.

“It probably took may be an hour-and-a-half, two hours to bring the fire under control.”

Crews wearing breathing apparatus used hose reel jets supplemented by a hydrant to put out the flames.

Mr Wilby said the blaze was confined to the roof area of “a large function room” of the old entertainments complex. He added: “It is a big room – a former dance hall – that must be about eight metres in height and I would say it’s a 25m x 20m building.

“The way we dealt with it was with aggressive, offensive firefighting as crews attacked from outside and inside to stop the fire from worsening. It’s a derelict secure building and this was deliberate ignition - an arson attack.

“We will now get in touch with the holding agents to make this site secure,” he said.

Two crews and the area ladder platform remained at the scene for a few hours after the initial blaze, damping down and checking for hotspots.

MORE: Firefighters damping down blaze at former Pontins holiday camp at Hemsby, near Great Yarmouth

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