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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 09:28 GMT 10:28 UK
Fire damages famous Blackpool ride
The Grand National
The Grand National has been a favourite since 1935
One of Blackpool Pleasure Beach's most popular and historic rides will have to be repaired after a major fire.

No-one was injured but the wooden-framed Grand National, which opened in 1935, was one of three rides damaged in the fire.

Fifty firefighters took two and a half hours to control the fire which broke out at about 2130 BST on Thursday.

An investigation started on Friday but the site, which attracts seven million visitors a year, is open to the public.

Popular ride

Firefighters took water from the Valhalla and The River Caves rides to douse the flames affecting the Grand National roller coaster ride nearby.

It is believed the fire started in the queuing station for the Grand National ride.

Tracks and ride cars were destroyed near the ticket station.

Pleasure Beach spokeswoman Gill Bridge said: "The Grand National is synonymous with Blackpool.

"It's one of our most popular rides and many people have fond memories of riding it with their families when they were younger.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach
A number of buildings apparently caught fire
"We intend to restore it to its former glory.

"We're relieved because the damage could have been so much worse."

The Alice in Wonderland and Trauma Towers rides were also damaged.

Asked if the close proximity of the rides had helped the fire to spread, she replied: "That is part of the charm of the place, the fact that we have so many rides on such a small site."

Eyewitness Marc Ellis, 33, from Fleetwood, Lancs, said: "It's a real shame, this is a really popular place".

Security staff patrolling the 42-acre amusement park, which was closed for the day, raised the alarm at 2120 BST.

Fire investigators say they are keeping an open mind on the cause of the fire although at this stage there are no suspicious circumstances.

The Pleasure Beach reopened on Friday.

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