28/10/2016 Spotlight


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Good evening from Spotlight. and on BBC One we now join


Tonight the fire which has devastated the heart of Exeter's


Two of the city's oldest buhldings have been destroyed.


More than a hundred firefighters have spent the day battling


the flames after they spread from an art gallery to the famous


Tremendously important buildings. A whole series of 16th centurx


buildings that survived the Blitz. We don't have a lot that survived,


but we had that, until todax. We'll be live in Exeter in just


a moment as the efforts Also in the programme tonight -


what future for Plymouth airport? A long awaited report says


a nine million pound subsidx is needed for it to operate


passenger services again. And the RNLI struggle


in parts of the region Tonight a major fire contintes


in the heart of Exeter - more than a hundred fire fighters


have been trying to put out the blaze at The Royal Clardnce


Hotel in Cathedral Green. The fire is believed to havd started


at an art gallery which facds Exeter Cathedral but spread


to the hotel throughout Guests have described


being evacuated from the buhlding Hamish Marshall is at


the scene this evening. Firefighters from Dorset have been


called in to assist. I have spent the day watching one of


the biggest firefighting opdrations in the history of the Devon and


Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. It started before first light this


morning and 13 hours later, it is still continuing as the flales


continued to burn the buildhngs behind me. We will hear in ` moment


of the historical significance of those buildings. Behind thel is the


high street. Some properties there had been damaged, some businesses


have been unable to open today. We will see what is happening there as


well. But first, in a series of reports and reaction tonight, we


look at the story of the dax and how this fire unfolded. Harriet Branch


was one of the first people on the scene this morning. The landscape of


the city changed for ever. This is one of Exeter's most iconic


buildings. Nasty. Absolutelx nasty. I don't like seeing anything like


this happening at all. It is devastating, absolutely dev`stating.


It is a massive operation and I have seen the cord and in the fire


officers are incredibly brave. They have been fighting all day `nd some


of them are literally exhausted The main thing is they stay safd and you


have the ambulance crews in support of them as well. And this is how it


all started. The scene Exeter woke up to this


morning, following a loud, sharp alarm just after 5am that echoed


across cathedral green. More than 100 firefighters


had been at the scene dealing with the blazd,


whilst people were evacuated from My dad called up to say that we have


got evacuated. Did not say why. I got changed and went downst`irs and


it sounded like it was rainhng because of all the crackling. So I


quickly opened the door and saw this huge smoke and ash coming from the


building and then I saw the rate is orange flames. We didn't re`lise it


was a real fire. We just thought it was an error in the system `nd we


all rushed out and of coursd we immediately realised becausd as we


came out of the hotel there was falling debris burning stuff coming


down. I have lost my engagelent ring. And I have lost my new iPhone


which I only got yesterday `nd an iPad with all of the photographs.


That is the sad bit. Everybody got out of the hotel and it is just a


very sad day for Exeter. It looked like the fire was contained, but


that changed. A gust of air just after 10am cars the fire to spread


across to the Royal Clarencd Hotel building. It is incredibly difficult


for two reasons. The first hs the structural integrity in the second


is the number of voids. We have a very old building that is thmber


framed and it has a very high fire loading and it makes it verx


difficult for the cruise. Elergency services have been here for hours


and expect to be here for d`ys to come. Much of the high Stredt has


been closed. It would normally be quite busy, the final Fridax of the


half term, but instead the high street has been dominated bx fire


appliances. Let's go and look at the situation there now with our


correspondent Simon Hall. Yes, it is straight, eerily quiet


for a Friday evening. Quite apart from the firefighters. Much of the


area has been closed all dax and it has caused widespread disruption. As


our correspondent reports. Everyone in the centre of Exeter


seem to want a glimpse of what was happening as the flames to called


the Royal Clarence Hotel. L`te this afternoon, you could hear of the


structure of this landmark building begin to collapse inside. Wdll, the


problem is we don't know we are working tomorrow or not, do we? It


has been a terrible time for local cafes, shops and businesses close to


this hotel. It is more the loss of customers, then going elsewhere


than being disappointed with my staff. We also have stock that we


have to move because we onlx deal with fresh produce. We Ashldy


provide all the treatments for the Royal Clarence Hotel so we will not


be having those guests attend are spot any more. I have been visiting


the Royal Clarence Hotel since I was a child. My children have bden


visiting, so it is really s`d. It has been a remarkable day in the


is sealed off while the firdmen work is sealed off while the firdmen work


on this blaze. Meanwhile, it just a short distance away, everyone is


shopping as normal and even people are out in the streets enjoxing cups


of copy and sandwiches. Thex released a range atmosphere here


today. We came down so far `nd realised we could not go down any


further and we have had to concentrate our shopping around the


area. And even going into a mains sorted as shopping and that is


closed because of the water. There is now what? There is no water


because apparently the pressure is being taken out and saw the shop had


to close at three B. So we `re going to go home. It is sad, really sad.


The Clarence has been there forever. I double how many years it has been


there. We are trying to havd a look at it but we can't see it.


Shopkeepers told us they have struggled to keep up with the


developments today. Some close their doors because they had no w`ter


their best to ensure it is business their best to ensure it is business


as usual, but it won't be e`sy. Joining me now is Devon and


Somerset's chief fire officdr, Lee Howell. The first question hs how


are you getting on tonight with trying to control the fire? Well,


this is a very serious fire. We have four aerial platforms on each of the


corners of this major buildhng and a series of buildings and what we re


doing is we're making sure there is no further fire spreading to a


decent buildings and we are making sure there is no further fire


spreading to adjacent buildhngs and we're making good progress hs all we


are pleased with the progress. Do you know how long it is going to be


before you about got it unddr control? It is very difficult to


tell. In fact, part of the problem we have had in the thing th`t


particular fire is the nature of the construction. It is a very, very old


building and with common roof voids, the fire has been able to spread an


scene through different roof spaces. And so until and unless we `re able


to fully determined that thd fire is out, we are going to make stre that


we are doing everything we can to protect the heritage and also make


sure there are is no further fire spread. And we are on the wdekend,


coming up towards Christmas, a busy time. People want to know, will they


here in Exeter tomorrow? We are here in Exeter tomorrow? We are


doing absolutely busy we can to bring this under control as quickly


as we can, but at the same time we also make sure that businesses can


operate so we have already discussed the potential plan to reducd the


level of disruption that we can do especially in this part of the city.


What you by that? Produce the Gordon and if we can, we're going to see we


can allow access on one sidd of the high Street. The buildings that are


directly affected clearly whll be directly affected clearly whll be


out of bounds and we will still be operating there, but wherevdr


possible, we recognise the concerns possible, we recognise the concerns


and we are trying to do everything we can to accommodate busindsses


trading in Exeter tomorrow. One point we are being asked about


commies. You happy fire unddr control this morning and thdn it


flared up again. What happened there? It is a very completdd


incident and this morning all of the visible flames had gone, but


actually what had happened hf I left the incident this morning in the


incident commander had said that actually we still need to m`intain


our resources here until we are absolutely sure that this incident


is under control and just as well that we did that and took that


approach because actually it had started spreading to roof voids The


standard of fire diction for buildings built centuries ago are


nowhere near the same stand`rd now, so actually that was one of the


reasons why the fire spread. Thank you for joining us here this


evening. One interesting pohnt, I've been talking to police officers


lapping staffing the cord and is here. They tell me normally when


they have to keep people aw`y from their work, their offices, their


businesses, they can get quhte grumpy, but not here today. Police


officers tell me they have seen nothing but support, good-n`tured


from people, bringing the copy to the people involved in this


firefighting effort. A sign of communities billet and shipped out


at the hand that has becausd to do these Doric heart of Exeter. -- to


Hall in the high street there. As he Hall in the high street there. As he


was saying, it is an ancient building behind us at the agent


heart of the city. Let's find out just how much has been lost today.


Historian Todd Gray is with me. How might have been lost? Its prominence


gives it a distinction, but really you are rebuilding a mediev`l


building and turning it into a hotel give it a distinction all across the


country. It is devastating. All of the buildings around it are


incredibly important. And how important is it the fire dodsn't


spread any further? Well, what we have is an island of mediev`l


buildings behind us. We losd to -- we lost 25% of the city durhng the


Blitz and also through development in the 1960s and 1970s. This is the


key to the ancient part of Dxeter. The worry is that it will spread to


moral -- Laura Ashley and the others around which a real gems. This is


Exeter at its best, so to lose them would be a real shame. And they have


an interesting history. The Clarence is a landmark building and hf you


essentially, you stayed herd. You essentially, you stayed herd. You


took spotter. People who cant imagine where there because it was


the way to be. It had an Egxptian room in the mid-19th centurx. It was


like going off to Tutankhamtn was Maktoum. It is a wonderful building


and to think that we have lost it today is that in. -- is terrible. It


also had links with the Nazhs before the war? Yes, it was the pl`ce ready


Fascists met in the 1930s and before that it was an abolitionist centre


for the war of Devon. If yot were against slavery, that is whdre you


went. So to have this gone hn just a day is just shocking. 20 very much


for joining us this evening. As you can see, the firefighters are still


on scene here tonight. They are going to be here right throtgh the


weekend as well. Earlier, some form was put on the adjoining buhldings


to try to stop the fire frol to try to stop the fire frol


spreading, but as you can sde, there are still flames this evening and


there is still a big job for the firefighters to do here at Cathedral


Green in Exeter. Onto some of today's


other stories now. A man has been jailed for two years,


for driving his car at his dstranged in the car park at


Royal Cornwall Hospital. The court was shown this dr`matic


CCTV footage of 55-year-old Mark He also struck a member of hospital


staff when attempting The former treasurer


of the Newquay Hornets, Stephen Simmons, has been sdntenced


to 21 months in jail for stdaling Earlier this month he'd ple`ded


guilty to charges of fraud, A scheme which has reduced `lcohol


and drug related crime and anti-social behaviour


in Penzance and Newlyn has The National Pubwatch Award was


received at the House of Colmons. A long-awaited report on thd future


of Plymouth Airport has concluded that it would be unable to operate


passenger services without government subsidy,


the BBC has learned. The draft report from the Ddpartment


of Transport is a review of all the previous studies


into the viability of the ahrport, The BBC can also reveal that


campaigners fighting to re-open the airport would need ?9 mhllion


of Government subsidy But they maintain they can


still re-open the airport, despite the fact no public


money is available. Scott Bingham has this


exclusive report. Five years after it closed,


the future of Plymouth Airport is The question is,


is it viable or not? Various studies have reached


opposing views, so all parthes have been banking on a new Government


report to come up with a definitive Well, the BBC can reveal th`t


a draft of that report from the Department for Transport, which


reviewed all the previous studies, has concluded there is not


sufficient demand to operatd commercially viable passengdr


services from a reopened Plxmouth City Airport without


Government subsidy. That is effectively saying ht's not


viable again, isn't it? No, if you look at


the at the language... their study at the moment,


but what they said was 'would not be viable without Government stpport


in the early years.' That is because we


said we would like to see rdgional air connectivity fund


support for developing break even in the early years,


so for them to come back and say we don't see how it could be vhable


without support in the earlx days, it just seems to me


a strange kind of language. Fly Plymouth maintain


they could reopen the airport without any subsidy,


yet the plan they submitted to the Department for Transport


would require ?4 million in Government loans at launch


and a further ?5 million to cover It looks to me and to anyond else,


you're asking for 9 million quid of You have to distinguish


between the nature of subsidies and So for now, the


uncertainty continues. The Department for


Transport said the final study will be


published in due course. Plymouth City Council says


while it is seeking to protdct the airport in its local plan,


its future will ultimately be by an Meanwhile, Sutton Harbour Holdings,


which leases the report from the Council, maintains


it is not viable and says it will continue with its plans


to redevelop the The RNLI has been showcasing


the work of its beach lifegtards in the hope of recruiting more


for the region. The charity can struggle to recruit


lifeguards to some beaches hn Dorset and East Devon and it's looking


to build on the work it already does making beaches


in our region safer for everyone. Our Dorset reporter


Simon Clemison has been testing missing today in Weymouth and


another Dorset beaches. Where there is surf,


there are, of course, surfers. Not just a ready stock to draw


lifeguards from, but whose bodies But the RNLI covers beaches on this


stretch of coastline too. Harder to find new recruits,


but they've got a Today's trainees are about


to rescue... By rolling the board, they roll


the casualty out of danger. Do you have to be like an Olympic


swimmer to do this? No, just reasonably


confident in the water. So is it knowing about what to do,


rather than being the strongest I think it's a big misconception


with a lot of people that you need to be like Hasselhoff


or something like that to bd a We have got some huge resort beaches


which are perfect for familhes to come and enjoy their day safely


and lifeguards are a huge p`rt And absolutely we see a lot more


land-based incidents, so lifeguards are highly


trained in casualty care. They are first responders


for the ambulance service so we actually deal with a lot


of incidents like that. You don't know what


would happen each day. Nice varied ages and


abilities and stuff. Are you going to work


here in Dorset, do you think? I'm mainly based in Lyme Regis,


so that's kind of where I But I think we might end up doing


work in Bournemouth as well. But the charity says


respecting the water But the charity says respecting


the water is what is important, so you don't need


to call on a lifeguard. Onto sport - Football


and Plymouth Argyle will look to extend their 12 game unbdaten run


and four point lead at the top of League Two as they welcole


mid-table Colchester Exeter City are back


in the League Two relegation zone but they've performed better


on their travels - they go to Morecambe,


who've also struggled Yeovil are at home to Grimsby


and Torquay United will look to halt a run of just one win in 10 games


when they host third from bottom And our rugby teams are in `ction


for the next three days. Let's start on Sunday


and work backwards. In the Premiership, Exeter Chiefs


have got local rivals Bath `t home. The Chiefs are hoping to get back


to winning ways but it won't be easy against a side two


places above them. On Saturday, the Cornish Pirates


are at Rotherham and Albion And this evening Jersey


are at Yorkshire Carnegie A Cornish Paddleboarder


is about to swap the waves of Polzeath for the tropical


waters of Fiji. Alex Murray has been selectdd


for Team GB to compete at the rather long-titled -


Fiji International Surfing Association's World Standup Paddle


and paddleboard championships. As Johnny Rutherford


has been finding out, Alex Murray is passionate about the


boards he makes. And his passion doesn't stop there. He knows just


how to get the best out of them He came second in the national paddle


scooped up by Team GB to colpete in scooped up by Team GB to colpete in


the World Championships in Fiji I am as prepared as I can be, bearing


in mind I have never served there before and I will be up agahnst the


world was my best who are used to competing without wet suits in warm


conditions in massive waves, but we do occasionally get big wavds and I


been training for the past ten months or so. Mostly here at


Polzeath and some days it h`s its day. Obviously, the conditions today


are not brilliant but the great thing about paddle surfing hs that


you can go in any conditions. But in Fiji, the words are that thd weights


can be frighteningly big and this is the first time for Alex and his


first trip to Fiji. Everybody has really wound me up about how scary


it is going to be but I am just going to try to do my best `nd


hopefully with the adrenaline of the other guys around me it will give me


a bit more encouragement to take off on one of the biggest waves I have


ever served in my life. Frol the age of 12, Alex always favoured surfing


over other water sport dischplines he tried, until you had it go at


stand-up paddle surfing. Thd beauty of the stand-up paddle board is that


other servers. For me, it enables me other servers. For me, it enables me


to go in for a very short sdssion and get as many waves as I want


because I am per this out. Ht also gives me a lot more power when I'm


doing my turns. The feeling is fantastic. It is like surfing but on


another level to surfing. 200 athletes from 30 nations gather to


compete in Fiji, which starts on the 12th of November.


Before we go to the weather with Bee - let's head back to Exeter


Fire fighters remain on the scene of the Clarence Hotel,


almost 14 hours after first being called to the fire


Tonight part of the city centre remains cordoned off.


Let's go live to Hamish Marshall for the latest.


The latest information I am told is there are 27 pumping appliances here


in Exeter, trying to tackle this fire this evening. Just takd a few


moments ago, I can still sed flames coming out from the Royal Clarence


Hotel. It is a big job. And through the day, thousands of gallons of


water had been used. And in fact, down at the river a special pump has


been put into the water there to bring water from the river tp hoses


through the city centre to help tackle this blaze and peopld living


in Exeter are being asked to do what they can to use as little w`ter as


possible because so much of the city's resources have been tsed on


that today. I am told that firefighters will be here rhght


throughout the weekend. Ple`se officers from across Devon `nd


Cornwall have been drafted hn. They will be manning cordons as well but


it is hoped part of the citx centre will be open for people to shop


tomorrow. As for a cause, rdnovation work on the art gallery next door, I


am told, is one possible catse. One other thing to read tonight, no one


has been injured. OK, many thanks, Hamish.


It is not looking too bad. H should be able to get out on my broom for


Halloween. Pretty much the same as the next few days. We have had very


grey skies. This sent from one of our weather watchers this morning


and very little changes over the coming days. It will stay mhld this


weekend. An awful lot of cloud about. On balance, more clotd than


sunshine, and again we will see is Kali mist and fog. The reason for is


we have got high-pressure anchored across the UK. There is no change


over the coming days. A lot of cloud trapped underneath that high, so not


much in the way of rainfall but much in the way of rainfall but


certainly a good deal of cloud. Quite a bit of Lookout as wdll,


particularly over the coming mornings. Halloween, it shotld be


dry, a little bit more sunshine compared with the weekend and


against is overnight mist and fog and you can see from the satellite


picture just how much cloud we have had today. It has been breaking up


in places, so I think there has been some bright spells but generally it


is going to be quite cloudy as we had to tonight and that clotd will


lower salt mist, he'll fog xet again, the odd spot of drizzle but I


think most places will be dry. With all of that cloud, it will not be a


cold night. We could get down into single figures in the countryside.


For most, those of 10-11dC. A great start to the day tomorrow. Some


drizzle. Most places dry. It will slowly brighten as we go through the


day. We will see some sunshhne coming and going. The best bet of


sunshine on high ground. Whdre you do get the brightness, it could well


Celsius above what we would expect Celsius above what we would expect


for the time of year. Height of around 15 Celsius. So I think as we


head towards the Isles of Scilly, it will stay largely dry. Again, and of


a lot of cloud but also somd bright spells into the afternoon. Here are


the times of high water. In terms of surfing, not a great deal of waves.


Slightly more on the north coast. Further south, one to two foot and


clean. For our coastal waters, winds east to sell easterly, thred to


four. Fairweather after any mist and fog and the visibility good. By


Halloween itself, dry but cloudy. You can expect some sunshind through


the afternoon. Quite eerie overnight, actually. Once again we


will see some mist and fog so perfectly for the trick or treat is


out there. Very quiet as we head to the coming days. A lot of cloud as


I have mentioned. As we go through the weekend, we have some e`rly mist


and fog tomorrow. The cloud will be big and it could give the odd spot


of drizzle but for most of ht will be dry. Into the afternoon, we


should see some decent spells of sunshine. Those temperatures doing


well. At this time of year, we would expect- around 11-12dC. We will


probably get the mid teens tomorrow. By Saturday night, if you'rd out and


about coming to be dry. A lot of cloud so quite a mild night and that


does mean Britain on Sunday, we will seize early mist and fog. Fhgure


cloud on Sunday. So let brightness will stop but again, where xou do


get some breaks, it is cert`inly not going to be cold and it looks like


actually as we had into the side of next week things are staying


settled. Super Halloween itself another dry day with some bright


spells and staying mild. Back to you.


The experiment indeed. That is just about it from us. I will be back


with the late news including all of the latest from the fire on


Cathedral Green in Exeter. Of course, that is at 10:30pm here on


lovely evening and a good wdekend. lovely evening and a good wdekend.


Take. Good night. It took us once to get through


the novel Anna Karenina. It was used to help my friend


with depression, and finishing as we went


to sleep at night. tapping each letter through the wall


that divided our cells as we served life sentences


in solitary confinement. We promise to encourage


others to dream big


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