Fire breaks out at Sidmouth hotel


Dukes. - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth hotel has been evacuated after a fire broke out in a laundry room.

Some of the items damaged in the fire.

Some of the items damaged in the fire. - Credit: Archant

Emergency services were called to Dukes, on The Esplanade, at about 2.30pm today after reports of smoke coming from a first floor laundry room.

The hotel was evacuated and everyone has been accounted for.

Two crews from Sidmouth, one from Ottery and another from Budleigh attended and used hose reels, jets and breathing apparatus.

The fire was extinguished at about 3pm but firefighters have remained on the scene and are now using thermal imaging cameras to check the fire has not spread to the floor above or anywhere else in the building.

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Hotel owner Mark Seward said: “Tea towels and drying clothes were in the tumble dryer, somehow they ignited. A member of housekeeping smelled something, then the smoke alarm went off.

“We have a system and a fire marshall. The building was swept and everyone was evacuated. The fire crew were here very quickly, they were superb. One of our maintenance team tried to put the fire out with an extinguisher. The fire brigade intervened and put it out. The fire was isolated in the laundry room.

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“There was some smoke damage. It will need rebuilding. We’re back open for business tonight. We had to move two guests from the room above the laundry to alternative accommodation.

“Credit to sidmouths retained firemen for their prompt response, and my team who evacuated the building.

“If anybody needs a reminder of the need for smoke and heat detection, this is it. Sections of the building are several hundred years old, there are a lot of timbers and beams. The fire could have easily progressed.”

Watch commander Sean Faulkner said: “It started in a tumble dryer and spread throughout the laundry room. On arrival there was smoke and flames issuing. “We tried to dig out the affected areas in the building and successfully stopped the spread of the fire. Part of the success was down to good smoke detection in the property.

“Please check your smoke detectors and make sure they’re working. If you need help fitting them, we can assist.

“Because it’s an old building, if there were no smoke detectors they would have lost half the building - without a doubt.”

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