Drayton Manor fire: Huge blaze breaks out at theme park as crews scramble to scene

A massive fire ripped through Drayton Manor theme park last night.

Pictures from the scene show flames towering over the facility as smoke billowed from the treetops.

Staffordshire Fire Service said its crews were battling a blaze at the facility, which was eventually brought under control.

Emergency crews rushed to the scene of the “large fire” late on Tuesday evening as the blaze took hold in a changing block area in the Thomas Land section.

An entire building was involved but firefighters were able to stop the blaze spreading to other areas of the park, which was shut due to Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions.

Drayton Manor’s operators confirmed its dozens of zoo animals were safe and no one was injured in the fire.

Shortly before midnight, Drayton Manor tweeted that the fire had been brought under control.

Its statement said: “We can confirm that we currently have a number of fire crews on-site at the park.

“Since being made aware of the blaze, we have been in close contact with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, who have advised us that the situation is now, thankfully, under control.

“No one has been injured and all of the Park’s animals are safe.

“It is not yet safe for us to survey the damage. For now, we echo the advice to local residents to keep doors and windows closed, and thank all those involved in the swift and effective response.”

In an updated statement, a spokesman added: “Following last night’s incident at the park, we can confirm that the fire is out and the area is cordoned off.

“We are very grateful to Staffordshire Fire and Rescue for all their support over the last few hours and are pleased to report that no one was injured by the fire, and all of the park’s animals are safe.

“We have now been able to survey the park and are relieved to confirm that the damage has been limited to a toilet block and store cupboard, both within Thomas Land. All of the rides remain intact with very limited damage.

“The fire service will now carry out an investigation into the cause of the incident.”

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue incident commander Stuart Ruckledge said the fire took hold in a changing block area in the Thomas Land section of the park.

A source had told Tamworth Informed the fire started inside a toilet block.

Mr Ruckledge told the BBC the whole building was involved but crews were able to stop the fire spreading to other areas of the park.

The fire service had tweeted earlier: “Fire crews from Tamworth, Mercia, Chase Terrace, Burton on Trent, Cannock and Barton Under Needwood are currently dealing with a large fire within the grounds of Drayton Manor.

“Please keep windows and doors closed.”

Drayton Manor is the UK’s fourth largest theme park and is home to more than 100 animals on a 15-acre zoo.

The park has more than 25 rides and attractions, and a 150 bedroom hotel with bars and restaurants.

It had been forced to close due to coronavirus restrictions.

Staffordshire is currently under Tier 3 measures.

Before the pandemic, the amusement park had been forced the half-term opening was cancelled due to Storm Dennis.