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Fire crews ‘have never seen anything like this in twenty-four years’

A van was destroyed after being hit by falling debris near to Blackpool Airport. Below: Emporium in Clifton Street.

A van was destroyed after being hit by falling debris near to Blackpool Airport. Below: Emporium in Clifton Street.

Fire crews were called out for record lengths of time to deal with the storm-battered South Fylde.

St Annes retained fire crew answered 12 calls and were away from the station for more than five hours as the gales brought chaos to the Fylde coast.

Crew manager Steve Howarth said: “I’ve not known anything like it and I’ve been here for 24 years.

“We didn’t get back to the station for five hours. It was absolutely manic, we were dealing with everything: a chimney through the roof in South Shore, a collapsed gable end in St Annes, horses trapped in a building in Fleetwood, but we judged it safer to leave them where they were. It was non-stop.”

Leanne and Dave Porter of Sandy Knoll on the Promenade, St Annes, have a rebuilding task on their hands after the side wall of their flat came crashing down.

Leanne said: “It was the biggest crack I’ve ever heard, then another, then the crash of the rubble as the wall blew out. It was scary. I wondered what was happening and then saw a coping stone in the middle room of the flat.

“I was worried for us and checked on the neighbours below to make sure they were OK. There’s glass all over the car park and it’s a right mess.

“Our neighbour’s door blew in and their son came up from the Midlands to help fix it.”

The winds wreaked Havoc at Lytham Hall, with the historic house closed to the public and a coach tour cancelled once damage was assessed.

Some slates were off the roof, and two trees were down, including a large tree across the drive.

Fence panels had come down, the farmer’s fence had flattened, and sheep were roaming the paddock.

Staff are hoping the hall’s Snowdrop Walk on Sunday will still go ahead.

Yvonne Margerison, the owner of Emporium, in Clifton Street, Lytham, was devastated to find the shop’s Victorian canopy smashed to pieces.

She said: “It’s one of the original Victorian canopies in the town and we’ve lost six panels.

“It’s brought people in though, asking about what’s happened.

“A slate came off the roof and bounced on the canopy, with two completely gone and four others smashed.”

Trees were reported down on roads including Peel Road and Clifton Drive.

A spokesman for Fylde Council said: “We were very fortunate in that there wasn’t a great deal of damage in Fylde, and we’re glad that people seem to have taken the official advice not to go out.

“The damage we did have was limited. On Lytham Road, in Warton, a bus shelter was damaged when roofing felt blew off.”

“A pay station shelter on one of the car parks in St Annes collapsed, which will be replaced as soon as possible.”

A number of trees had also blown over in parks across the borough.

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