Part of fire-damaged Longscar Centre demolished

Demolition work to part of the fire-damaged Longscar Centre in Seaton Carew has been carried out after initial surveys indicated it was unsafe.

A JCB digger, believed to be acting on behalf of the owners, moved on to the site this afternoon.

The front of the Longscar Centre after demolition work.

The front of the Longscar Centre after demolition work.

It pulled down sections of the building worst affected by Tuesday night’s blaze including at the front.

The whole site was earlier cordoned off after preliminary surveys by fire and council chiefs indicated it was structurally unsafe and that parts of it were at risk of collapse.

It comes after aerial pictures revealed the extent of the damage to the building, which is privately owned.

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “Preliminary surveys undertaken by Fire and Council officers indicate that the building is structurally unsafe due to the fire damage and, accordingly, the site has been cordoned off.

Damage seen from the air before today's demolition work

Damage seen from the air before today's demolition work

“The site is the responsibility of the private landowner who is also responsible for any demolition work that is carried out.”

A full structural survey of the building has not yet been possible due to an investigation by the police and fire services.

The fire started in the right hand corner of the building at around 8pm on Tuesday night and quickly spread into the roof and along it.

Eight fire appliances and two aerial platforms were needed and crews spent 12 hours on the scene.

Firefighters on the scene on Tuesday night.

Firefighters on the scene on Tuesday night.

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

An investigation into the cause is underway by the fire and Cleveland Police.

The Rocket House car park, in Seaton Carew, is currently closed to the public. The building, which was previously a pub and video games arcade, has been vacant since 2009.

In 2016, the council, which is carrying out regeneration work along The Front, failed in its attempt to force the owners to sell them the building through compulsory purchase powers after a public hearing.

The Mail has attempted to contact the owners.