A firehas broken out at the Bristolwarehouse of UKanimation maestros, Aardman Animations.

Theblaze, which began early on Monday morning, has destroyed many irreplaceable Aardman sets, props, storyboards and models as well as somefestival awards (although not Aardman's haul ofOscars and BAFTAs, which are housed elsewhere.)

An Aardman source said the company had "no idea" asto what caused the fire.

"It'sa private company we use. We don't how the fire started yet," he said.

The newsof the fire comes on the day that Aardman Animations'The Curse Of TheWere Rabbit has climbed to the top of the USbox-office chart.

"Ona day that should have started with celebrations, we come into news that thisfire has occurred. It is a bittersweet day indeed," the source commented."But in the light of other tragedies, it is not a big deal - nobody hasbeen hurt."