Somerset

Portishead police gun training centre fires still burning

Scene of the fire on Wednesday
Image caption An investigation into the circumstances of the blaze cannot begin until the building is declared safe

Fires are still burning at a firearms training centre being built in Somerset, more than five days after the blaze began.

The fire at the Black Rock centre in Portishead was spotted by a passing police officer early on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, an anarchist group claimed responsibility for the blaze.

Matt Hunt, group manager at Avon Fire and Rescue Service, told the BBC "small pockets" of fire were still burning within the rubble of the building.

"We will be keeping a presence there throughout the night," he said.

Investigations continue

Mr Hunt said the blaze should be out completely at the "beginning part" of next week.

Investigators from the fire service and Avon and Somerset Police would then be able to enter the building once it had been made safe by contractors, he added.

Police said it was too early to decide "cause or responsibility".

The £16m training centre is to be used by the Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire police forces.

The facility, which will contain two indoor firing ranges as well as classrooms, had been due to open in January.

It is part of a Private Finance Initiative deal, worth more than £100m, which will also involve police stations and other operational facilities being built in Patchway, Keynsham and Bridgwater.

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