Firefighters still at the scene after massive blaze in Longscar building
Firefighters are still at the scene of a massive fire which ripped through Seaton Carew's Longscar Centre last night.
Cleveland Fire Brigade was called to the scene just after 8pm and sent eight appliances and two aerial ladder platforms to the scene.
A Cleveland Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: "There was 50 per cent damage to the disued building, structural damage as a result of fire and heat.
"We used six jets, 12 breathing apparatus and two jets from the hydraulic platforms. The thermal imaging camera was also used."
The crew from Stranton fire station is expected to return to the station within the next hour or so.
Householders in the area were warned they would face power cuts for two to three hours shortly after the blaze, as Northern Powergrid carried out emergency repairs.
Hundreds of people turned out last night to watch, 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.
Details on the cause of the fire and the extent of the damage have not yet been released by authorities.
The Longscar centre, which is privately owned, has been vacant since 2009.
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 its plans after a Compulsory Purchase Order for the derelict Longscar Centre was rejected.
Work on the £1.3million regeneration scheme is already under way with work already started on children’s play and waterplay facilities on the site of the former paddling pool, close to the Longscar Building.
Other features given approval include beach huts and repairs to Seaton’s Art Deco clock tower and bus shelter.
•Thank you to Christopher Tritschler for supplying this video, and thanks to Jay Petch and John David McDade for the photographs.