Watch the moment that a landmark Wolverhampton bowling alley collapsed in a huge inferno as shocking new footage of the blaze emerged.
Paul and Nathiena Williams, who live on Bushbury Lane opposite the building, caught the dramatic scene on camera and sent it in to the Express & Star.
Plumes of smoke billowed into the sky while roaring flames leaping from Strykers bowling alley glowed blue due to the intensity of the heat from the fire which ravaged the closed-down complex.
Dozens of firefighters were faced with a ‘fierce and intense’ blaze as they battled to bring it under control.
Loud popping sounds, along with explosions and crashes, could be heard, as part of the building crumbled last night.
For three hours, fire crews fought the blaze defensively from the outside as chiefs feared that the building was structurally unsafe and likely to collapse.
As the fire took hold, police extended the cordon, and the side wall and back of the building started to collapse.
Bystanders watched as flames leapt through the glass-fronted entrance, walls collapsed and nearby trees caught fire. Nearby residents spoke of their shock as the bowling alley went up in flames.
Many were settling down to a quiet Sunday evening, while others were enjoying a Christmas party when the nearby drama unfolded.
The first they knew about the blaze was when fire engines raced to Bushbury Lane.
Dozens of firefighters arrived on the scene as plumes of smoke poured from the empty building.
James Dubil was enjoying a family Christmas party at the neighbouring ECC Sports and Social Club in Showell Lane, when the fire started.
Mr Dubil, aged 17, from Bushbury Lane, said: “Someone just came in at about 5.30pm to say Strykers was on fire. We couldn’t believe it.
“We came out and saw all the fire engines turn up, and there was just lots of smoke. I couldn’t see any flames, just all the smoke going up into the sky. It was coming right from inside the building.
“We have just been standing here watching, because we couldn’t believe it.”
School teacher Paul Williams, of Bushbury Lane, said he noticed all the commotion at about 5.40pm.
The 34-year-old said: “You could see the flames right over the top of the building, and just lots of smoke, it blew right across the street. We are all right down our end, but down there you can’t see anything, the smoke just covered the road.”
The father-of-one said his son and wife were watching the blaze from an upstairs window.
He added: “We watched as the firemen in all their gear ran up the fire escape and went into the building, through the side. You could see the flames as they went in.” Residents were asked to keep doors and windows shut behind the venue as wind blew the smoke down and across the street.
Sean Boyle, from Sedgley, was visiting a friend nearby when he saw the fire.
The 23-year-old, who works in accounts, said: “We were watching it from the side and saw the wall collapse. Bits started falling off and then it just all crumbled in one.
“There are bits still hanging off that keep falling down. It was a massive crash and loads of smoke was sent upwards.”
His friend Dave Salmon, a builder who lives in Bushbury Lane, said: “It looked like the firefighters were just letting it burn after the collapse, but then a tree caught alight and they doused it in water. Then they kept spraying the trees.”
“We just had to watch, as it was just something you don’t see. It was like the size of the Carvers fire.”Subscribe to our Newsletter