Ian Payne 4am - 7am
Six injured after huge blaze devastates Eastbourne hotel
22 November 2019, 13:44
Six people were injured after a huge blaze broke out at a seafront hotel in Eastbourne.
Twelve fire engines were sent to deal with the blaze at the Claremont Hotel in the East Sussex town on Friday morning.
One of those injured was taken to hospital with breathing difficulties, the ambulance service said.
Footage from the scene showed flames still burning in the shell of the Victorian seafront building.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was called at 8.52am to reports of a fire in the hotel's basement.
The hotel was evacuated safely and everyone has been accounted for, the fire service confirmed.
Nearby residents have been warned by the fire service to keep doors and windows closed.
Incident commander and Assistant Chief Fire Officer Mark Andrews said: "The fire spread from the basement through to the upper floors.
"There is considerable smoke in the area and we are advising people to keep doors and windows closed.
"We will now work to ensure that the fire is completely put out.
"This will take several hours and so the roads in the area are likely to remain closed for the foreseeable future.
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues from other agencies who have helped us deal with this complex incident.
"The swift actions of the hotel staff meant everyone got out of the hotel safely, and we thank them for their efforts."
George Brown, group managing director for hotel owner Daish's Holidays, said: "We are devastated at the loss of the hotel and will be working tirelessly to support everyone affected by the damage, including current and future guests, employees and local residents.
"We would like to thank the emergency services, the local community and businesses for their support at this difficult time, in particular the Pier Hotel, Afton Hotel and Queens Hotel, who kindly took in our guests and supported our team with looking after our guests."
Mr Brown said the hotel team has been working closely with the local authorities and emergency services and will be supporting all investigations going forward.
He continued: "We have already arranged for return travel home today for all the guests who were staying at the hotel.
"Guests who were due to check into the hotel in the near future have been contacted by Daish's Holidays, and we are in the process of informing guests who have hotel bookings over the coming days, weeks and months, to assist them with alternative arrangements.
"It is clear that this fire has caused significant damage to the Claremont Hotel, a Grade II Listed building which is not only one of our most popular hotels, but also a prominent and historic Eastbourne landmark."
The building has been seriously damaged and will need to be examined by building experts before a decision is made about its future, the fire service said.
The cause of the fire will be investigated.