Nick Park: Aardman fire 'no big deal' in world context

Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park said today that, after the earthquake in Pakistan, a fire which wiped out the "entire history" of Aardman Animation was "no big deal".

He said: “Even though it is a precious and nostalgic collection and valuable to the company, in light of other tragedies, today isn’t a big deal.”

A spokesman for the company said all the sets and models from the latest Wallace and Gromit film were safe and had not been archived in the warehouse.

But the sets from A Grand Day Out, The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave are all thought to have been destroyed, along with those from Chicken Run - Aardman’s first feature-length release.

Aardman spokesman Arthur Sheriff said: "Today was supposed to be a day of celebration, with the news that Wallace and Gromit had gone in at number one at the US box office but instead our whole history has been wiped out.

“The early reports are that the whole building has been destroyed. For us, it held everything we had done since day one. Everything from Morph to Creature Comforts to Wallace and Gromit was there.

“It had all the film sets, the props, the models, everything. It was very important to us. We used it for tours and exhibitions. It really is a bit of tragedy. It’s turned out to be a terrible day.”

The fire broke out at just after 5.30am. Ten crews battled to bring the blaze under control as a number of surrounding roads were sealed off. The roof later collapsed, along with three interior walls. Nobody was in the building when the fire broke out.

Smoke was still rising from the blackened ruins of the warehouse today. Fire crews were pouring thousands of gallons of water on to the site from aerial platforms to ensure the fire was completely out.

An Avon and Fire Rescue spokeswoman said an investigation would only be possible once the building was made safe to enter.

Fire crews are expected to remain at the site until tonight, as they continue to dampen down the building.

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