Hotel fire could have been worse

A HOTEL owner has warned of the importance of installing fire detection equipment after her business was saved from burning to the ground.

Russell Claydon

A HOTEL owner has warned of the importance of installing fire detection equipment after her business was saved from burning to the ground.

She was speaking following a blaze which broke out in the kitchen of the Blyth Hotel in Southwold in the early hours of yesterday morning .

The fire, which is thought to have started as a result of damp tea towels combusting, had threatened to rip through the 13 bedroom Edwardian property. But an early warning smoke alarm system - which called the owner's mobile phone - coupled with fire safety training, meant the incident was able to be contained to a small area of the kitchen.

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Charlie Ashwell, 34, who has leased the historic property from Adnams Brewery with her husband for the past three years, said she was indebted to the fire prevention precautions they had taken.

She said: “We feel gutted this has happened as nobody wants to experience this fear but I am just relieved we had the right planning, training and safety features in the hotel to help us nip the blaze in the bud.

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“With these old buildings once you get a fire in it, it rips through it.

“We feel quite drained by it all but it could have been much worse.”

She said her husband Richard, 39, had received the call from the fire warning device at around 1.30am and was able to get to the hotel in Station Road within a few minutes from their home.

On his arrival he had been confronted by the sight of smoke billowing from the side of the hotel.

Mrs Ashwell said: “He called 999 and the fire crews were here very, very quickly. They worked with him to establish where the fire cut off points were and managed to effectively contain the fire.

“He had touched the door and felt it was warm and knew not to enter the kitchen.

“If he had opened the door he would have given the fire more oxygen and it would have got a lot worse.”

The hotel, which suffered from smoke damage, was closed to the public yesterday, while industrial cleaners got to work. It is expected to reopen in time for tomorrow night.

One person was evacuated from the building.

Mrs Ashwell praised the swift actions of the fire service and said the fire safety training they had invested in had helped to save the hotel.

She warned other businesses not to take fire safety lightly.

She said: “A few hundred pounds saved out hotel last night.

“If there are business who have not faced up to the fire safety regulation I just hope this does not happen to them.”

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