Skegness Fire Parade Complex Videos Photos from the Front line
Video of The Skegness Fire
Source: BBC News
The fire could be seen from six miles away.
The demolition of buildings gutted by a huge fire in a Lincolnshire coastal resort is “well under way”.
More than 100 firefighters were called to The Parade in the centre of Skegness, Lincolnshire, on Thursday.
Flames swept through the buildings, forcing the collapse of a 200-metre long stretch of property.
Five pumps poured water on the buildings overnight on Friday as the blaze started to reignite. Firefighters said the flames were now out.
We’re now scaling down the operation a little to try to let the people of Skegness get back to a bit of normality
John Cook, Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service
“As best we know, apart from a few hotspots, the fire is now out,” said Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s general manager John Cook.
“The demolition work is well under way and has been going on since about half past five this morning and the floors of Buster’s Fun Pub are about to be removed.
“We’re now scaling down the operation a little to try to let the people of Skegness get back to a bit of normality.”
The fire centred on the Lucky Strike arcade and The Parade, which is made up of four large entertainment bars and a number of concession stalls.
Treated as ‘suspicious’
Police said the fire was being treated as suspicious, but investigations would take some time because of the extent of the damage.
Ch Supt Russ Hardy, said: “There are a number of possibilities we are investigating and these include the possibility that it is accidental as there are a number of catering establishments in the vicinity.
“We are also investigating the possibility that the fire was caused deliberately.”
He added officers were investigating a possible link between the blaze and an incident on Thursday night in which two vehicles were damaged by fire outside an address at Church Lane in Addlethorpe – about five miles away from the resort.
It is hoped the demolition will be completed by Saturday afternoon and fire officers will leave the scene by the evening.
The Victorian buildings, formerly named Frederica Terrace, were the first to be built on Skegness seafront around 1879, and many of them retained much of their original characteristics.
As we left the scene around 3.00am, the LA Cafe was under threat. Firefighters broke all the windows of the LA, presumably to prevent a build up of pressure. We are hoping that the fire will not spread to the Tower Cinema.
Tower Gardens, Compass Gardens, the east end of Lumley Road and most of the sea front was cordoned off.
Photo: picture of the Skegness fire taken around 1.30am
Skegness Video was at the scene of devastation almost from the onset of the fire through to the demolition the next day. Pictures and videos are taken by ourselves, from priviledged press positions.
The Great Fire of Skegness
One of Skegness’ oldest and historical, listed buildings has been lost forever after a fire swept through the Parade Complex, razing it to the ground.
The fire started around 11pm Thursday, 16th August.
Coun John Byford who was at the scene said “This is completely devastating for Skegness”. He told us that Skegness, like many other British seaside resorts, had suffered this season mainly due to the weather and the floods, and this latest catastrophe would do nothing to help the situation.
T K Bola, who owns the Parade Complex and was also at the scene, said he is “devastated” by the news of the fire. “Skegness has lost part of its heritage, given by the Earl of Scarbrough”, he said.
The Mayor of Skegness would like everyone to know that Skegness IS still open, it’s just the area around the Parade Complex and Tower Gardens which is cordoned off for now!
Update midday, Friday.The buildings have been declared unsafe and will be entirely demolished this afternoon.The Ex-servicemens club suffered damage but will be unsfe as a stand-alone structure.We were there videoing the demolition.We have secured video interviews with the Mayor of Skegness and the press officer for The Parade Complex -uploaded tomorrow.
Our story: What we saw…
We were alerted to the fire at around 1am. We rushed to the scene. We intended reaching the seafront via the Tower Gardens but these were cordoned off. We could see the sky illuminated by the fire, but we could not smell smoke, though the wind was blowing offshore.
As we walked along Rutland Road we could see the rear of the Parade Complex which was well and truely alight.
We were able to cross towards the Marine Boathouse pub where crowds of people were gathered outside, hardly able to believe the devastation they were witnessing.
We crossed over to Tower Esplanade where we witnesses the raging fire. Cordons prevented us, even the press, from getting any closer, though we were allowed into Compass Gardens to take a quick picture, then we were forced to retreat.The Parade Complex was burning furiously. The roof of Lucky Strikes made a thunderous noise as it caved in.
Firefigters were desperately trying to prevent the fire from spreading to the Ex-Servicemen’s Club. The fire penetrated along the roof of the club.
Firefighters broke into adjacent buildings, the Ex-servicemen’s Club and the LA Cafe, shattering the windows, presumably to release the build up of heat an pressure.There were concerns that the fire would spread to the electrical substation at the rear of the Complex, threatening the supply to the town.The Clock Tower was suddenly plunged into darkness as its lights and illuminations went out.Sparks and debris were flying, threatening the Embassy Centre across the road from the Parade Complex. Firefighters trained their hoses on the building as a precautionary measure. Consequently the ceiling of the Embassy Foyer collapsed. We were told that this was just superfical damage, due to the plaster tiles getting wet.We left the scene around 3.30am, the fire still raging, firefighters struggling to prevent the blaze from engulfing the Ex-servicemen’s Club.
We had little sleep that night! I suddenly remembered that an important old Jolly Fisherman Railway poster was displayed in the Ex-servicemen’s Club. I was worried incase this was lost in the fire, too.
We returned to the scene of devastation early next morning. The flames were extinguished in all but one tiny area. Smoke rose from the embers. Water hoses still trained on them, cooling to prevent reignition.We were told that what remained of the building were unsafe and had to be demolished as soon as possible. Demolition, we were informed, would begin at 12 noon. We waited. Demolition would begin at 2pm, we were re-informed. We decided to leave the scene to grab some food, and return at two. The demolition equipment was being deployed from Lincoln and, now, it was sheduled for 4.30. We waited. 4.30 arrived but no demolition equipment.
We were told that the Look North TV crew were on their way to do a live broadcast from the scene of devastation at 6.00pm. Latest news- demolition would begin at 6.00pm. And sure enough, so it did – live on TV! One wonders…
Crowds gathered as the day progressed, TV crews, TV presenters, Hannah Moffatt and Peter Levy, local and national press, town councillors, East Lindsey District Council personnel, TK and Taj Bola, co-owners of the Parade Complex.Demolition of the smouldering, haunting shapes began.
Tears in my eyes, I trained my camcorder on the the proud, Victorian ladies standing naked! The massive, strong bulldozer with its giant gaping mouth, suddenly realised exacltly WHAT it was bulldozing! Oh, so gently, as gently as a giant could, did it nudge the Victorian lady, with not an ounce more force than necessary, tipping her balance until she elegantly crumpled to the ground…
We left the scene at turned eight o’clock that evening. The demolition continued ’till 9pm.
This morning we returned. People were still watching the action. But what silence – a strange subdued silence overcast the seafront of Skegness. We saw – a big, gaping hole, a hideous void of nothingness. All that stood of the old Victorian building was the charred remains at ground level.
What we heard:
“the fire started at the rear of Lucky Strikes”
“it sounded like a bomb going off”
“[name witheld] sacked two members of staff suspected of pilfering a couple of days before the fire”
“two vehicles belonging to the owner of Lucky Strikes were torched in a nearby village 15 minutes before the Parade fire”
A tenor singer due to perform at the Embassy Theatre on Saturday night, commented that it was a coincidence that he was in Skegness after the Fire, and he was also due to appear on stage at Newquay where another fire had gutted a hotel!
History of the Parade Complex
What is now (or was) known as the Parade Complex on the seafront of Skegness was fromerly named Frederica Terrace. The building were completed by 1879, and were the first buildings on the seafront. The building to the extreme left of the terrace was Osbert House, later to become Butlin House as it was used as offices for Billy Butlin.
The adjoining building was known as the Sharrow Hotel. The photo below is of Fred Hoyles, manager of the Ex-servicemen’s club. He is proudly showing us his picture of the Ex-servicemen’s when it was the Sharrow Hotel. The photo was taken last summer.
Around the mid 1900s, the middle set of buildings were reworked and turned into the Parade Hotel. This rare image of the Parade Hotel was scanned from our rare copy of the 1967 Skegness Holidaygram. The iron pinnacle on top of the Parade Hotel came crashing to the ground in 1968.
The most northerly building on Frederica Terrace was the Callow Park Hotel. The picture below was scanned from our rare copy of the 1910-1911 Guide to Skegness published by the Skegness Urban District Council in 1909.
You can see that the top parts of the buildings have retained their original features to this day. Or rather, two days ago! Look closely and you will see even the pinnacle which was on the roof of the Callow Park Hotel still remained. The building was to become the Jolly Fisherman pub in the 1960s.
Below is the Parade Complex photographed just before it was redesigned by the present owners.
TV interviews with the Bolas and Insp Steve Hill of the Skegness Police Station two days after the devastating Parade Complex Fire.