Chief constable â€œheartbrokenâ€ after state-of-the-art facility discovered ablaze â€“ while still under construction.
The Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset Constabulary has said that both he and colleagues have been left â€œheartbrokenâ€ after fire devastated a new training centre.
Nick Gargan said that he had visited Portishead to see the ongoing efforts to battle the blaze at the 5,200 sq ft facility â€“ which is still under construction and had been due to open next year.
The project, at the Black Rock Quarry site close to the force HQ, featured on PoliceOracle.com on August 15. Its centrepiece is a state-of-the art Firearms Training Facility â€“ which has been earmarked as a training base for officers from three south-west forces as part of the Tri-Force Specialist Operations collaboration.
It had been envisaged that the site would host up to 300 officers at a time from across Avon & Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Police plus 40 trainers and staff.
In a statement, Avon & Somerset Fire and Rescue said the alarm had been raised shortly after 4:30am on August 27 â€“ arriving personnel were greeted by a major blaze.
While there have been no reports of any casualties, the statement added: â€œWhen crews arrived, they found 50 per cent of the building, which measures around 140m by 40m, was well alight. Six pumping appliances have attended, together with a mobile command unit and other vehicles were sent to the scene.
â€œFirefighters have also been using a turntable ladder as a water tower to help attack the flames from above â€“ and four hose lines are being used on the ground.â€
The statement highlighted that there was â€œno indication of the cause at the stageâ€. The smoke plume (see picture) could be seen from some distance away.
In a tweet, CC Gargan said he had been devastated by the fire. The building, which is around 500m from the force HQ, had been due to open its doors in January.
The Chief Constable said in the tweet: â€œI have just been to witness the continuing efforts to put out our new training centre in Portishead â€“ it is heartbreaking.â€
Firefighters tackle police training centre inferno