Major fire prompts early edition of Blackpool Gazette

A group of Blackpool Gazette journalists worked through Sunday to produce a special edition of the paper and update the website after a major fire broke out in the town centre.

Production staff on the daily secured an early print slot, allowing Monday’s edition to appear on newsstands alongside the nationals early yesterday morning instead of at 10am.

More than 100 firefighters were called to the 3am fire on Sunday at the historic Yates’s wine lodge in Talbot Square. The Gazette was first alerted to the fire by a freelance.

A team of reporters and production staff volunteered to come in to the office on Sunday.

Initial reports were published on blackpoolgazette.co.uk early that morning, including about 50 user-generated photos and videos.

The Gazette said its online coverage of the fire prompted 25,000 page views on Sunday – and traffic figures were more than four times higher than a typical Sunday.

Editor David Helliwell said: “By mid-morning on Sunday it was pretty clear we already had a huge amount of copy and pictures.

“Lots of information was available to our website users and it seemed a shame to wait until our regular print slot to share dramatic pictures and eyewitness accounts with our paper readers.

“We were able to negotiate a print slot that allowed us to go on straight after the nationals and so be on sale much earlier with five pages of coverage that readers wouldn’t be getting anywhere else.

“As always it was a team effort, from the journalists who gave up their Sundays to ensure we had everything we needed, to our newspaper sales and production teams who swung into action straight away.”

A 21-year-old man has been charged with aggravated arson and is being held in police custody. He is due to appear at Blackpool magistrates court later today.

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