The owners of an Isle of Wight hotel have said that a fire that caused a partial collapse of the building on Saturday night may have been caused by fireworks.
The hotel is operated under the Old English Inns brand, owned by Greene King. A spokesperson for Greene King said that the police had been notified in advance of the fireworks display.
"It certainly appears possible that the fireworks were the cause but we will have to wait for a full investigation by the fire service to be completed to get all the facts," she said.
The Ryde Castle was under holding management on the night of the fire as new managers were due to start in a couple of weeks.
"The previous manager had been present during the day to hand over the wedding function before leaving the hotel around 7pm," said the spokesperson. "All fire procedures were followed and everyone was evacuated safely. Our priority remains to be in contact with both current and future guests to ensure they are looked after and to make alternative arrangements for them. We will also continue to meet with staff to keep them updated and to look for opportunities to find temporary positions for them at our nearby establishments.
"The full extent of the damage is not yet known and the hotel will be closed for the foreseeable future. We are deeply upset about the damage to this historic building and it is our intention to restore it as soon as possible."
Originally a Victorian family home, the hotel, which overlooks Ryde Esplanade and Harbour, was used during the First World War as a wartime hospital and during the Second World War as an army headquarters.
By Janet Harmer
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