In this paper we study the local regularity of closed surfaces immersed in a Riemannian 3-manifold flowing by Willmore flow. We establish a pair of concentration-compactness alternatives for the flow, giving a lower bound on the maximal time of existence of the flow proportional to the concentration of the curvature and area at initial time. The estimate from the first theorem is purely in terms of the concentration of curvature at initial time but applies only to ambient spaces with non-positive sectional curvature. The second requires additional information on the concentration of area at initial time but applies in more general background spaces. Applications of these results shall appear in forthcoming work.