Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service battled all night in an attempt save the derelict Trinity United Reform Church on the Esplanade in Whitley Bay from fire but the whole building was fully ablaze and were succumbed by the speed and ferocity of the fire.

The church as it was:-

The church became unoccupied in 2008 and as with a lot of derelict buildings squatters and vandals can end-up occupying these these buildings.   Old churches generally fall into the lower fire risk category of but when a fire does take hold, often from electrical failures, fire can spread rapidly within the old a readily available dry timbers typically found in the structure of the building.

Very few churches have or necessary need fire detection and fire alarm systems to provide early alert and accordingly if a fire occurs it is able to establish itself unnoticed and very quickly before there are any external indications of a fire; by then the fire will have taken hold.

This then becomes a challenging fire for the fire crews; with a risk of falling masonry and timbers crashing onto firefighters a defensive firefighting mode is often adopted and the fire is fought from the outside.  This tactic though prevents the fire crews from reaching the heart of the fire or other areas as the fire is protected from the water jets by the remaining building walls and floors.  Then, when the building has almost burnt-out can the final areas of hot pockets of fire be extinguished with the use of turntable ladders or hydraulic platforms.

You will notice fire crews reversing their fire appliances out of the way as the risk of building collapse and fire spread is high.  This may also be to allow high level firefighting equipment mentioned above from reaching the blaze.

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