Fire-hit theme park to reopen

By David LennardA THEME park will reopen this morning after it was forced to close following a fire in a maintenance shed. More than 1,500 parents and children had to leave the Pleasurewood Hills theme park near Lowestoft on Thursday lunchtime when the blaze broke out in a maintenance shed on the site.

By David Lennard

A THEME park will reopen this morning after it was forced to close following a fire in a maintenance shed.

More than 1,500 parents and children had to leave the Pleasurewood Hills theme park near Lowestoft on Thursday lunchtime when the blaze broke out in a maintenance shed on the site.

An acetylene cylinder was inside the shed and firefighters set up a 200-metre exclusion zone as there was a danger the container could explode.


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Although the shed was not near the park's public areas, staff decided to evacuate the entire site as a safety precaution.

Assistant Divisional Officer Mark Labdon, of Suffolk Fire Service, said although the shed blaze had been quickly put out, the cylinder had remained in a dangerous condition.

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“The problem we have with acetylene cylinders is that the gas temperature continues to rise even when the source of the heat is removed,” he added.

This meant that fire crews had to pump water continuously over the cylinder for 24 hours and check the temperature on an hourly basis before it was safe enough to remove.

Mr Labdon said the cylinder had cooled sufficiently by lunchtime yesterday for it to be handed over to the supplier and removed from the theme park.

Suffolk police then lifted the exclusion zone and roads in the area, including parts of Corton Road, were reopened.

A spokesman for Pleasurewood Hills said: “We would like to thank members of the public for their understanding and the calm way they evacuated the park.

“I can confirm that the cylinder involved in the fire has been safely removed and Pleasurewood Hills will reopen at 10am on Saturday.”

Touring caravans at the nearby Azure Seas caravan park in The Street, Corton, were moved further away from the Pleasurewood Hills site on Thursday following the blaze.

A caravan park spokesman said: “We had no problems, but the police asked us to move some touring caravans that were closest to the Pleasurewood Hills site.

“We were happy to do this and the caravans were resited on another part of our park.”

Everyone who was evacuated from Pleasurewood Hills was given full ticket refunds for a return visit.

david.lennard@eadt.co.uk

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