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article image53-foot dinosaur destroyed by fire

By Lynn Curwin     Oct 1, 2010 in World
Portsmouth - A 53-foot (16 metre) dinosaur, built as part of a touring art project, was destroyed by fire in Portsmouth and arson is suspected.
The model, which was constructed of steel and polyester, was erected on Southsea Common this summer.
Firefighters were called at 2:40am on October 1 and spent 45 minutes on the scene.
The statue, called Luna Park, was scheduled to leave Southsea on October 10 for Colchester. It was expected to be on display in Cardiff following that.
Portsmouth City had hoped that it could return to Southsea Common permanently when its tour ended in April.
“We are treating this fire as "cause doubtful", which means it was not an accident,” The News (Portsmouth) quoted Robin Dellow, of Southsea fire station, as saying. “We cannot say for definite that it was arson but we are not ruling it out.
“There is nothing combustible around the dinosaur, and although there was a fluorescent light inside the dinosaur it was still there when the fire fighters arrived. This shows it was nothing to do with the fire.”
Scott Yule, Southsea firefighter said that when crews arrived at the scene there were university students taking pictures and videos on their phones.
“It was rainy when we got there but not enough to put out the fire, but it was windy which would have helped the fire.
“The dinosaur was completely destroyed, it is unrecognisable. You can see the metal frame, but that is all.”
Hampshire police said they would be investigating the cause of the fire.
PC Jack Oakley, from Portsmouth's Targeted Patrol team, said he is hoping some of the people who took pictures and footage of the fire can assist with the investigation.
“I'm appealing to anyone who was on Southsea Common at the time and who saw what happened, or anyone with information about the cause of the fire, to get in contact,” he told The News.
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