Royal Clarence hotel fire ‘a total failure'

29 October 2018 by
Royal Clarence hotel fire ‘a total failure'

Fire commanders "ignored advice" that "might have saved" the historic Royal Clarence hotel in Exeter, according to a BBC investigation.

The 53-bedroom, four-AA-star hotel, believed to be one of England's oldest hotels, was destroyed by a fire in October 2016 that had broken out in the adjacent Castle Fine Art Gallery building.

The BBC reports that it has received evidence which was not included in the official report that fire was found on the third floor of the 18th century property and reported to overall incident commanders, but advice to deploy crews inside was not followed.

Independent fire safety consultant Alan Cox described it as a "total failure" on the BBC's Inside Out South West programme last night.

A spokesperson for Andrew Brownsword Hotels, which owns the property, said: "We are aware of the BBC investigation into the Royal Clarence and remain in close contact with all relevant agencies. We thank all the emergency services for the incredible efforts they made at the time of this terrible fire and we remain hugely grateful that there were no injuries to any guests, staff or members of the fire service."

This weekend marks the second anniversary of the fire. Enabling works are still ongoing at the site to prepare for the main rebuild, making it unlikely the hotel will reopen next year as originally hoped.

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Andrew Brownsword speaks of devastating loss of Royal Clarence hotel >>

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