Over 50 firefighters were sent from Colchester, Tiptree, Manningtree, Brightlingsea, Coggeshall, Clacton and Chelmsford to tackle the fire at Colchester’s former Odeon cinema at 1.46am on 29th October.
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said that at a peak time of 3.50am the building was 25 per cent alight and 100 per cent smoke logged.
The magnitude of the fire was reflected with the use 67 sets of breathing apparatus, a number that has not been seen in 30 years.
Commander, Terry Povey said “there were numerous hazards, such as holes in the floor and it was heavily smoke logged.”
Club goers who were out in Colchester on the night of the fire were quickly made aware of the problem. Essex University student, Tyler Smith said “there was a strong fire service presence in and around Crouch street and just by walking past, I was able to tell that it was serious.”
Locals reported that the derelict building was often used by rough sleepers in Colchester. Later, Commander Povey was able to confirm that “following a search of the building, nobody was found inside.”
By 9am the fire crews on the scene had put the fire out, but instructed residents in the surrounding areas to keep doors and windows closed to avoid any contact with the smoke.
Colchester council had recently granted permission to the building’s owner, Blumarble Property, to convert the building into luxury apartments. A major breakthrough considering the old cinema has been sat derelict for 15 years after its closure in 2002.
Details of the buildings conversion are still yet to be announced.