Deprecated: Function session_register() is deprecated in /home/sites/ on line 88 Falmouth hotel fire: Blur guitarist among guests
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Falmouth hotel fire: Blur guitarist among guests

  • 4-30-2012

A major fire has destroyed a seafront hotel in Cornwall.

About 30 people were moved to safety from the Best Western Falmouth Beach Hotel, at Gyllyngvase in Falmouth, as 100 firefighters tackled the blaze.

One of them was Blur guitarist Graham Coxon, who is performing at the town's Princess Pavilion later.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said the alarm was raised just after 12:00 BST. Ten appliances and two aerial platforms are at the scene.

The roof of the hotel has collapsed, but there are no reports of any injuries.

Guests 'unaccounted for'

On his Twitter page, Coxon said: "We have rooms at the beach hotel and had to leave when the smell of smoke."

He later added: "We watched it... We had to leave the foyer and then watch it get worse and worse..rather sad."

Eight guests are unaccounted for, but it is believed they were on day trips.

A Cornwall Council spokesperson said: "There is nothing at this stage to suggest these guests have come to any harm, and it is likely they have gone out on day trips, but police would like these individuals to make themselves known to officers at the scene or to call police on 101 to confirm they are safe and well."

The neighbouring St Michael's Hotel has also been evacuated.

A helicopter from RNAS Culdrose has been used to view the state of the building from above.

The fire started on the third floor of the four-storey property, but has spread throughout. Des Tidbury, Cornwall's chief fire officer, said the ferocity of the wind had made fighting the blaze "challenging".

Not only was it fanning the flames, but water being directed onto the fire by crews on the aerial ladders was being blown away from the building, meaning the platforms have to be continually relocated.

He said the hotel building had many "nooks and crannies" and it would be many hours before the fire was extinguished.

The 120-bedroom hotel, which is one of the biggest in the town, was opened in 1984.

The mayor of Falmouth, Geoffrey Evans, described the fire as "absolutely horrendous", adding that it "couldn't have happened at a worse time".

"It's right at the start of the holiday season, we've got the Olympic Torch coming in a few weeks, and the Finn Cup (sailing competition) as well, so I don't know how this is going to affect accommodation," Mr Evans said.

"I think the hotel was fully booked, so to lose such a prominent hotel at this time of the year is a complete disaster.

"The smoke's going right through the town and the fire has spread and completely gutted one side of the hotel.

"It's unbelievable and absolutely horrendous."

Surrounding roads have been closed due to the fire.

A statement issued by Best Western said: "All guests have been evacuated and the emergency services are battling to get the blaze under control.

'All gone now'

"We are currently trying to speak with the owner of the property to find out further information."

Staff and residents from both hotels have been moved to the Gylly Beach cafe and the Green Lawns Hotel.

Eyewitness Sophie Sweatman, who lives nearby, said: "The smoke cloud is heading in a north-westerly direction straight towards my house. It's been getting thicker and thicker.

"The whole right-hand side of the hotel has burnt down - the left-hand side has been on fire for three or four hours and they can't really attack those flames with a hose.

"This is a very busy beach, a very prominent promenade, with a lot of houses nearby.

"My parents stayed at the hotel back in November. We used to go to the hotel spa a lot - it's all gone now."

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Reproduced under licence from BBC News © 2012 BBC

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