Electrical Fault Caused Dinosaur Fire

6 October 2010, 10:18 | Updated: 6 October 2010, 10:23

Police and fire experts have confirmed the fire which destroyed a 53ft (16m) tall dinosaur was an accident.

It's believed to have been caused as a result of an electrical fault.

The steel and polyester model was erected on Southsea Common in Portsmouth, Hampshire, this summer.

But at 2.40am on friday October the 1st, a crew from Southsea fire station received reports it was on fire. They spent 45 minutes tackling it and damping down the remains of the structure.

The statue, called Luna Park, recreated the discovery in the 1970s of dinosaur bones, wrongly presumed to be that of the largest dinosaur, ultrasauros.

The bones were later identified as having come from two different species.

The Arts Council-funded work was co-commissioned by three galleries - Portsmouth's Aspex gallery, Firstsite in Colchester, Essex, and Chapter, based in Cardiff.

The statue was due to be installed in Colchester on October 10 before moving on to Cardiff but it was hoped that it would return permanently to Portsmouth.

 At the time, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: "It's incredibly sad. It has been here for the summer and it's been incredibly popular - families have loved it, kids have loved climbing all over it.

"We were wondering whether we could keep it permanently because it was such a popular thing but it looks like that won't be possible now.''

Dinosaur BeforeDinosaur destroyed

The artist behind the sculpture, Heather Morison told Heart:

"I feel very sad about loss of Luna Park. In particular I feel sorry for all the many people that have worked very hard on realising the project. Lots of people got to enjoy Luna Park over the summer, and it is a real shame that it won't be able to tour to Colchester and Cardiff."

Investigating officer Pc Jack Oakley said:

"The original assessment was, of course, that the cause of the fire was doubtful.

"On closer inspection, it appears as though the severe weather we experienced in the early hours of Friday morning caused water to seep into the structure.

"That in turn could well have resulted in an electrical fault in the lighting system on the underbelly of the structure, which was powered by a generator."