Aerial pictures show damage to Hartlepool's Longscar building after fire

Aerial pictures show the extent of the damage to Hartlepool's Longscar building after a blaze broke tore through it.

The fire broke out on Tuesday night at the centre, in Seaton Carew.

The fire broke out on Tuesday night. Picture by Craig Vasey.

The fire broke out on Tuesday night. Picture by Craig Vasey.

Pictures taken by Mail reader Craig Vasey show just how far the blaze spread, and the damage it caused.

Police and fire investigators are looking into the cause of the fire, which broke out at about 8pm.

Hundreds of people turned out to watch it unfold, with police putting up a cordon and closing the road to traffic.

Flames were seen burning through the roof, with smoke billowing 60ft in the air and out to sea as scores of firefighters tackled the blaze.

The aerial images show the extent of the damage. Picture by Craig Vasey.

The aerial images show the extent of the damage. Picture by Craig Vasey.

Firefighters remained at the scene until about 8am yesterday, with the full scale of the damage to the landmark building clearly visible.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: "Police received a report of a fire at the Longscar Centre on The Front in Seaton Carew at 8:20pm on Tuesday, May 8.

"Inquiries are still at a very early stage and officers are working with Cleveland Fire Brigade to establish the cause of the fire."

The Longscar Centre, which is privately owned, has been vacant since 2009.

Mail reader Craig Vasey sent in the pictures.

Mail reader Craig Vasey sent in the pictures.

An attempt by Hartlepool Borough Council to force the owners to sell failed following a public hearing.

Last November, the council agreed to a programme of work to upgrade the existing car park near the centre, changes to the layout, landscape improvements and the provision of seating.

The council had to redraw their plans after a Compulsory Purchase Order for the derelict Longscar Centre was rejected.

Thanks to reader Christopher Tritschler for sending in the video.