06 Aug Police investigate blaze that destroyed entertainment complex at Hemsby caravan park
The owner of a fire-hit caravan park has vowed to battle back from a blaze which destroyed the seaside site’s entertainment complex today.
Fire crews from Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Hemsby were called to Seabreeze Caravan Park in Newport Road, Hemsby at around 4am today.
They used hose reel jets supplied by hydrants to tackle the blaze, and then an investigation was launched by police and the fire service.
The Seabreeze is a private members caravan park with 200 pitches in an area of holiday parks and amusements.
Owner Jeremy Bensley, who lives around 200 yards away from the park, said he learnt of the blaze when a caravan resident banged on his door in the early hours to alert him to it.
The building that burnt down was the entertainment complex, which served as a clubhouse, live music venue and bingo hall.
Piles of jigsaw puzzles could be seen through the windows, with band posters displayed near to the entrance.
“It’s absolutely ruined inside,” said Mr Bensley, who has run the park for 25 years. “We don’t know the prognosis yet – we’ll have a structural engineer look at it.”
He said the building was in flames when he got there and described it as a “slow burn”, with people becoming aware of it when they saw smoke and smelt burning plastic.
“Police were already here as they were in the area and saw the smoke,” he said. “The fire service were here pretty quickly and put it out quickly. “My gut feeling is the building has had it.”
A police forensic services van and two marked cars were on scene as officers investigated alongside a fire service investigator and a building surveyor.
There were CCTV cameras on the building, and Mr Bensley said he was handing tapes to police.
He said it was sad news and that he did not know how long the park would be left without a social hub for, but was insured and would not be defeated by the fire.
“We had a good atmosphere there, with live music and cash bingo, it was a meeting place for people,” he said. “Most places have got a little something there.
“I hope we will come back from this.”
He said he was heartened by the scores of people offering their support after the blaze.
A Norfolk police spokesman said: “Investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing.”
this News story was provided by Great Yarmouth Mercury