September Song JP Cooper
Demolition work's started on a derelict nightclub on Southsea seafront which was destroyed by a huge fire on Tuesday evening.
More than 80 firefighters were called at 5.35pm on Tuesday 9th August to the site of the former Joanna's nightclub on Southsea seafront, Portsmouth. The fire was so large, the smoke could be seen for miles around.
Crowds gathered on the beach opposite to watch crews from ten appliances and support vehicles tackle the blaze.
The building has been left at risk of collapse, and demolition work is expected to take a few days.
Hampshire police have said that the fire was not believed to be linked to any civil unrest. A spokesman said:
''There is nothing at this stage to suggest the incident is linked to civil unrest or disorder.''
The nightclub in the ground floor of the premises closed several years ago and it is believed that the flats above were also vacant awaiting redevelopment.
The site is opposite South Parade Pier, which burnt down during the making of Ken Russell's film version of The Who's rock opera Tommy in 1974.
The neighbouring site to Joanna's, which also used to be a nightclub but which has since been demolished, is partly owned by Tottenham Hotspur manager and former Portsmouth FC manager Harry Redknapp.
The site is awaiting development into restaurants and flats.
Chief Inspector Ali Heydari, of Hampshire police, said:
''It's understandable that given the civil unrest in London, residents here may be concerned that this fire is a result of impending disorder in Portsmouth.
''I think it's important that we clarify that while the cause of the fire is being investigated, initial inquiries do not point to arson.
''There is absolutely nothing to suggest this is linked to threats of disorder in Portsmouth.''