Scores of firefighters are today desperately trying to stop the spread of a massive blaze which is tearing through a hotel in one of Britain’s oldest resort towns.
Firefighters are pumping seawater to stop the spread of the inferno ripping through the Claremont Hotel in Eastbourne, East Sussex as well as neighbouring buildings.
All hotel guests were evacuated safely from the seafront hotel when the fire broke out just before 9am this morning in the basement.
At least 60 firefighters and a dozen fire engines are at the scene as the inferno continues to out thick smoke, leading to a warning to residents to keep their windows closed.
The blaze comes five years after the 140-year-old Eastbourne Pier was ravaged by a fire which was started ‘deliberately’.
Twelve fire engines were sent to deal with the blaze at the historic Claremont Hotel
Smoke and flames have been seen billowing out of the building since around 9am
Smoke is still billowing out of the building, while guests have been evacuated from the hotel in Eastbourne this morning
Some 12 fire engines, as well as ambulances, have been sent to the Claremont hotel
The Claremont was sold by the Lions Hotels to the Daish Hotel Group in 2013, before it underwent a ‘comprehensive refurbishment programme’ with a new bar and lounge in 2013.
A witness told the Eastbourne Herald: ‘It’s absolutely huge. It started at the back of the hotel, now the whole front of the hotel is on fire.
‘There are loads of people are running around, there’s loads and loads of smoke.’
A high volume pump and a specialist fire-fighting foam vehicle were also called in.
An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: ‘We are working hard to stop the spread of a serious fire in a seafront hotel in Eastbourne.
‘We were called at 8.52am to reports of a fire in the basement of The Claremont.
‘As of 11.30am, 12 fire engines were at the scene, along with officers and specialist appliances. Sea water is being pumped from the beach to be used by firefighters.
‘Support is being given by West Sussex Fire and Rescue and Sussex Police. The power supplies are being isolated. The hotel was evacuated safely and everyone has been accounted for.’
Incident Commander and Assistant Chief Fire Officer Mark Andrews said: ‘This is a very serious incident and the fire took hold very quickly.
‘There is considerable smoke in the area and we are advising people to keep doors and windows closed. The swift actions of the hotel staff meant everyone got out of the hotel safely, and we thank them for their efforts.’
Roads in the area have been shut.
Firefighters are asking people to avoid the area as the fire continues to sweep through the building
Guests are started to be evacuated from surrounding hotels as the fire continues to spread