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Falmouth Hotel Fire
6:53am 8th May 2012
(Updated 6:53am 8th May 2012)
Police think the Falmouth hotel fire could have started while builders worked on a flat roof.
Around 30 guests and staff had to be evacuated when the Falmouth Beach went up on Monday lunchtime. Teams are preparing to pull down the blackened ruins of what used to be one of the town's most iconic buildings.
Locals are also being asked to come forward with any photos or video from when it first broke out.
At its height, 100 firefighters from Mullion to Wadebridge were battling to bring the blaze at Gyllyngvase under control, as gale force winds fanned the flames.
The wreckage continued smouldering for days after the blaze broke out.
Stuart Flack watched it unfold: "It was actually quite small when I got here and it was coming through one window. Within ten fifteen minutes the wind had picked up through it and it was well ablaze. Within half an hour I was getting photos of the floors dropping through and it just took hold like you wouldn't believe.
"It's mixed emotion for me because I actually lost a house in a fire myself several years ago. I came out of it with the clothes on my back so I know exactly what people are feeling like.
"It's one of the main hotels on the seafront here. The loss that they're going to have is going to be unbelievable. And again for the rest of the town with the shopping and things like that, it's going to have a big knock-on effect".
Blur guitarist Graham Coxon was staying there ahead of a gig at the Pavillions.
He has tweeted "We watched from the foyer. We watched it get worse and worse. Rather sad".
Last night a couple on holiday from Surrey told me they had lost everything and did not even know if they still had their car.
Michelle Harrison from Flushing was due to get married there in a few weeks time: "I mean we just couldn't believe it. The scale of the pictures from when it started to as it unfolded, it just must have spread so quickly. Absolutely unbelievable. Both of us just listened in silence".
Incident Steve Brown commander said, "The high winds are fanning the flames and helping with the fire spread which is causing some problems. But we're doing everything we can in order to bring the fire under control. The crews are working particularily hard in extremely difficult and dangerous conditions".
Scott Christie is a delivery driver and was one of the first to spot the flames: "The top three floors actually, right above the reception area, are well alight. They're on fire. There's a fire brigade here and another one up round the corner trying to put the back of it out. The flames seem to be contained inside the building itself, they're not coming up out the roof or anything yet. But it is pretty fierce at the moment".
Within a couple of hours parts of the building had collapsed and flames had engulfed the roof.
You can watch a video here
David lives nearby and says it is a huge blow: "It's a very important hotel to the seafront. It holds many functions and has got many many rooms so it's going to effect the whole of Falmouth for the summer".
Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton said:
‘‘It was a very sad day for Falmouth, but a tragedy for the hard working staff of the Falmouth Beach Hotel. I am at sea with the Royal Navy’s HMS Ocean, in my absence my office has been in touch with the Hotel Manager, and offered him all my support as he leads his team forward in the aftermath of the devastating blaze. I hope to be meeting with staff members later this week to discuss further what help I can offer.
"I pay tribute to the fire-fighters, ably assisted by police and coastguards, who bravely contained the fire and eventually brought it under control. Thanks to their efforts it appears the casualties have been avoided; now the work of rebuilding the livelihoods of those affected by that dreadful fire begins’’.6:53am 8th May 2012
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