A devastating blaze ripped through Potters Heron hotel in Hampshire last night with more than 170 firefighters called to the scene.
Guests and diners evacuated the three AA-star, 53-bedroom hotel in Ampfield, near Romsey, when the fire broke out at about 5pm yesterday evening.
The blaze is believed to have started in a chimney and spread into the thatch
Nobody was injured in the blaze at the two-storey building with fire crews reporting that the flames were under control at about 10pm.
Chief fire officer Neil Odin told the Southern Daily Echo it was "the largest thatch fire I have attended in a 24-year career".
He praised the crews who had been "working hard in cold, wet conditions" to "save this lovely building".
Ted Kennedy, chairman of Pebble Hotels, said: "There was a major fire at the Potters Heron on the evening of Monday 19 March. Due to the fantastic work of the fire brigade and the hotel team there were no injuries and the damage was confined to the thatched roof, some staff accommodation and the bar restaurant. The main hotel and function rooms were not affected.
"We are now working with our contractors to check all safety aspects of the hotel and are well on the way with this. We expect these checks to be completed by the weekend.
"Once we have the green light we will then fully re-open the bedrooms and function suites which were completely unaffected by the fire. The bar restaurant will be relocated within the main hotel building, enabling us to refurbish the damaged restaurant."
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