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Fire at former Pontins holiday camp being treated as arson

PUBLISHED: 14:18 18 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:23 19 August 2018

Five Norfolk fires remain on the scene following the blaze, being investigated as arson, at the derelict former Pontins site in Hemsby. Pictures: Mick Howes

Five Norfolk fires remain on the scene following the blaze, being investigated as arson, at the derelict former Pontins site in Hemsby. Pictures: Mick Howes

Archant

A “severe” blaze at a derelict former coastal holiday resort is being investigated as arson.

Five Norfolk fires remain on the scene following the blaze, being investigated as arson, at the derelict former Pontins site in Hemsby. Pictures: Mick HowesFive Norfolk fires remain on the scene following the blaze, being investigated as arson, at the derelict former Pontins site in Hemsby. Pictures: Mick Howes

At the height of the blaze at the former Pontins holiday camp in Hemsby this morning (Saturday) 15 fire crews were battling the flames, and preventing it from spreading to other buildings at the site.

With initial fire crews called to the scene in Beach Road about 1.10am, group manager Simon Mason – incident commander for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service - said about 90 firefighters were involved at the height of the blaze.

He said: “The fire was very severe and the entire frontage of the building, measuring around 75m by 60m, was involved in fire.”

The blaze had engulfed the former reception area at the front of the building, with the roof having collapsed - making it difficult for the fire crews to access the “pockets of fire” inside.

Five Norfolk fires remain on the scene following the blaze, being investigated as arson, at the derelict former Pontins site in Hemsby. Pictures: Mick HowesFive Norfolk fires remain on the scene following the blaze, being investigated as arson, at the derelict former Pontins site in Hemsby. Pictures: Mick Howes

A police spokesman said they are “investigating an incident of arson in Hemsby” following a fire in the early hours of this morning (Saturday) in Beach Road.

T/Sergeant Hannah Gardiner said: “This incident and our subsequent response did attract public attention and cause concern among the local community.

Incident commander for Norfolk Fire and Service, group manager Simon Mason, at the derelict former Pontins site in Hemsby. Pictures: Mick HowesIncident commander for Norfolk Fire and Service, group manager Simon Mason, at the derelict former Pontins site in Hemsby. Pictures: Mick Howes

“I would like to reassure the public we take offences of this nature very seriously. No one was injured and we believe this to be an isolated incident.”

Five fire crews from Norfolk remain on the scene dealing with any hotspots to make sure the fire does not reignite. A brigade spokesman said: “Crews will remain on site at Hemsby but the fire is extinguished with only isolated hotspots remaining in the rubble. We are working closely with Great Yarmouth Police and Great Yarmouth Borough Council to resolve this incident as swiftly as possible.”

With Great Yarmouth police increasing patrols in the area of Hemsby “following an arson in the early hours of this morning,” Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service Group manager Simon Mason added: “As we know this site has been derelict for a number of years and we have a had a number of deliberate fires on the site.

“At this moment in time, while we have not done a full investigation, the initial thoughts at this time is the fire is most likely a deliberate ignition due to the fact that the site was reasonably secure prior to the start of the fire.”

Anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area or anyone with information should contact Norfolk Police quoting reference 28 of 18 August 2018 on 101.

Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their anonymous online form.

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