FORTFIELD BLAZE: Firefighters ‘winning battle’

LATEST: Flames quelled but job goes on

BRAVE firefighters have quelled massive flames that threatened to engulf all of Sidmouth’s derelict Fortfield Hotel.

However, rescuers said in the last hour: “We will be here all night.”

Around 80 firefighters are still pumping water into the building to ensure flames don’t break out again.

“We’ve been extremely lucky the fire started on the top floor. If it had happened on the floor below it would have been a very different scenario,” Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service group manager Adge Tilke told the Herald.

It is believed no-one was inside the derelict building, which fire chiefs deemed to dangerous for rescue crews to enter.

Two 160feet tall hydraulic ladders are being used to combat flames.

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The Esplanade was shut as water was pumped in hoses for more than a mile from the River Sid.

Six homes were temporarily evacuated and several others covered in protective foam to stop the fire spreading.

Sidmouth came to a standstill from around 4pm this afternoon (Thursday, December 30) and stunned nearby residents looked on in shock as flames erupted.