Historic hotel gutted by fire in Eastbourne, UK
A fire that has gutted most of a seafront hotel after burning for days was finally put out after the gas supply feeding the flames was cut off on Monday, 25 November 2019. East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said extensive work by the supplier had isolated the supply to the Grade II listed Claremont Hotel in Eastbourne. The blaze began at about 8h50 GMT on Friday, 22 November 2019, as most of the hotel guests were eating breakfast in its lower ground floor restaurant on Grand Parade. Paul Harper, a director of Daish's Holidays, which owns the hotel, praised the "quick action" of staff who got everyone out "within minutes".
All 130 guests and staff members at the Claremont, which was evacuated along with neighbouring hotels, were accounted for.
Harper told media the fire started in an "unmanned area of the basement" but he would not speculate on the cause.
At its height, about 60 fire fighters with 12 engines tackled the flames. Six people were treated for minor injuries, with one taken to hospital suffering from breathing difficulties.
Fire fighter Simon Neill said the gas supply that was fuelling the flames was finally isolated at about 19h30 on Sunday, 24 November 2019. "As soon as they [cut it off] the small fire in the ground floor disappeared, which is exactly what we were hoping would happen," he said.
A crowdfunding page set up to help hotel staff has raised more than £2,000. Many lived at the Claremont and have lost most of their possessions. Harper said, "It has been an absolutely devastating time but it restores your faith in humanity the way everyone has pulled together."
He added, "We are hoping it can be the phoenix that rises from [the ashes], it is an iconic landmark building and we will do everything we can do to restore it."
Roads remained closed on Monday but all remaining pockets of fire have now been extinguished, he added.
A full investigation into the cause of the blaze is due to begin later.
The fire service will also consider whether the remains are structurally safe. In the meantime, it has asked people to avoid the area and obey cordons.