Demolition starts on fire-ravaged building

112857-6712 SOUTHSEA DEMOLITION (EB) MRW 11/8/2011''The Southsea block of flats that used to be Joanna's Nightclub which caught fire earlier this week is now being demolished '''Picture: Malcolm Wells (112857-6712)
112857-6712 SOUTHSEA DEMOLITION (EB) MRW 11/8/2011''The Southsea block of flats that used to be Joanna's Nightclub which caught fire earlier this week is now being demolished '''Picture: Malcolm Wells (112857-6712)
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A demolition crew today began to knock down the smouldering shell of the old Savoy buildings on Southsea seafront.

About a dozen people watched as work started at 6.30am.

112835-1154 FIRE SOUTHSEA (NEWS) MRW 10/8/2011''Firefighters still at the scene of a fire opposite South Parade Pier in Southsea - the ex-Joanna's nightclub venue '''Picture: Malcolm Wells (112835-1154)

112835-1154 FIRE SOUTHSEA (NEWS) MRW 10/8/2011''Firefighters still at the scene of a fire opposite South Parade Pier in Southsea - the ex-Joanna's nightclub venue '''Picture: Malcolm Wells (112835-1154)

A 70ft crane fitted with mechanical arms to nibble away at the shell of the building swung into action against the backdrop of a windswept seafront.

The building, on a site owned by former Pompey manager Harry Redknapp, was engulfed in a huge fire on Tuesday evening.

Today, John Hughes, head of the demolition company Demolition and Salvage, said they were taking it carefully as the site was still being treated as a crime scene.

inside most of the floors had collapsed when the fire took hold, and even as demolition men worked today, parts of the building were still smoulkdering

Mr Hughes said the demolition would continue until police called a halt to enable their invesiigations to continue.

It is expected it will take around two days for the upper floors of the fire-ravaged former Joanna’s nightclub building, in South Parade, to be collapsed safely.

An exclusion zone around the site is being kept in place by Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Hampshire Constabulary and today the area of South Parade around the pier remained closed to traffic.

The authorities are continuing to make the area safe and investigate the cause of Tuesday night’s fire.

Mark Jones, spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: ‘The cordon will be up for another two days while the demolition takes place.

‘The demolition has to be of a slow, precise and safe nature.Investigations are still ongoing and will continue until the building will be safe enough to go into.’