VIDEO SPECIAL: Sidmouth Fortfield inferno drama

More than 70 firefighters battle flames. Video by Alex Walton.

MORE than 70 firefighters last night battled a huge inferno that entirely engulfed the main part of Sidmouth’s Fortfield Hotel.

The blaze left the derelict premises in ruins and was the second major fire there in just over a month.

Residents were urged to stay in their homes and roads were shut for hours after fire broke out at around 6.50pm last night (Friday, January 29).

Two appliances from Sidmouth were first on the scene and were swiftly followed by scores more from around the region.

Watch Commander Andy Revesz told the Herald at the scene on Friday night: “On arrival the building was well involved in fire on the top floor of the premises.

“The fire has spread and now involves all floors down to the ground in the main part of the building.”

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Fire crews worked with police to shut roads, pump water from the mouth of the River Sid, and reassure local residents. Nobody nearby was evacuated.

“It was safer to keep residents in their homes,” added Commander Revesz.

“We were able to implement a good plan to deal affectively and safely with this incident,” said Commander Revesz.

Roads around and along Sidmouth seafront were shut as fire crews again pumped water from the River Sid.

Firefighters coated the nearby thatched Sidmouth Cricket Club pavilion with protective foam to stop the blaze spreading as spark blew out to sea.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “A call was received at 6.49pm reporting the Fortfield Hotel in Sidmouth on fire. An inital attendance of six fire engines, two from Sidmouth, Ottery, Middlemoor in Exeter, Budleigh and Seaton, the aerial ladder platform and bowser from Exeter Danes Castle, hose layer from Honiton and the incident support unit plus a support appliance from Exmouth.

“Once crews arrived they requested a further four fire engines, two from Honiton, two from Exmouth, soon followed by a further aerial ladder platform and compressed air foam appliance from Somerset.”

A pair of fire appliances and two aerial ladders remained at Sidmouth’s blaze-ravaged Fortfield Hotel this morning (Saturday, January 29).

Crews used water jets dampen down hot spots at the derelict premises. Building control experts assessed damage to the Fortfield.

• SEND your photos and video or share your experience of the blaze by e-mailing or call (01395) 888501.