Fire safety officers in Blackpool have started an investigation into a blaze that destroyed a hotel in the seaside town January 20th.
A dog belonging to the owners is thought to have died in the fire, which tore through the five-storey Astoria Hotel just after 18:00 Sunday, but nobody else was found in the property after an extensive search by firefighters was undertaken.
The Blackpool Gazette reports that 75 firefighters attended the blaze as it quickly engulfed the guest house, situated on Albert Road. Indeed, the fire was so serious that 14 fire engines from across the area – including stations at Blackpool, Fleewood, Blackburn, St Annes and Bamber Bridge – attended the scene.
Local residents and people working in shops and those staying in nearby hotels were quickly evacuated from the scene as the fire started.
Officers are now looking into what caused the blaze, which was described as “treacherous” by firefighters who entered the building, as residents expressed their shock at what had happened.
Denise Rendall, owner of The Albert Hotel opposite The Astoria, told the news provider that the fire was massive.
“We were devastated to see what’s happened. These are our friends and they’ve lost their livelihood,” she explained.
“We had been out and arrived home to see it, we’re just shocked. I heard the flames were huge.”
A fire risk assessment must be carried out on all commercial properties in England and Wales under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
The Responsible Person, who must undertake a fire risk assessment, can face an unlimited fine or a prison sentence of up to two years if they fail to comply with the legislation.
It’s not the first fire to hit the town in recent years, after a blaze broke out and destroyed the two-storey Blackpool Trades Club in October 2011.
Eight fire crews attended the scene that left 50 people evacuated by nearby homes for two nights.