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James Bond film set destroyed by huge fire

A massive blaze wrecked the set of the new James Bond movie Casino Royale yesterday.

Flames swept through the huge 007 hangar at Pinewood Studios and a pall of thick black smoke belched out from the roof.

The grey-painted steel hangar, which has been the set for all the Bond movie shoots at Pinewood, contained virtually all the specially built props and stunt equipment used in shooting Casino Royale.

The building, which was more than 300 yards long and provided film-makers with 45,000sqft of stage, was destroyed in the fire which broke out shortly after 11am.

Sources at Pinewood confirmed that most of the expensive James Bond props had been stored at the end of the building most severely ravaged by fire.

A spokesman said, “The studios and stages, which were the largest movie set in Europe, will have to be pulled down. I don’t think there will be any change out of £20million pounds when it comes to counting the cost of this blaze.”

The huge pall of smoke, which drifted across the M40 and M25 motorways, could be seen from at least 10 miles away and attracted a crowd of onlookers. Fire fighters had to call for police to help after cars belonging to the public blocked roads and prevented rescue appliances getting to the scene in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire.

Fraser Pearson, spokesman for the county’s fire service, said that at least 10 appliances, including a major incident command centre had been sent to the fire.“People were working on the set when the fire started but everyone has been accounted for safely,” he said.

University student Tovy Pawson saw the blaze from the air while enjoying a helicopter flight with friends from the nearby Wycombe Air Park. He said: “There were huge jests of flame and thick black smoke coming out of the air vents on the top of the building. It looked amazingly dramatic- just like you would expect from a Bond movie.

“I took from photos as we flew over it and it made a fun day very exciting” added Tovy, 19, who, lives in Epsom, Surrey.

Filming for Casino Royal had be completed last week, although the 007 film set was due to be used again in August next year for the new James Bond movie, which will again feature Daniel Craig as Bond.

Casino Royal- the 21st official Bond film – has been chosen for the 60th Royal Film Performance and is due to be released in November.

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