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Yarmouth hotel evacuated after fire

15 September 2008

A hundred and thirty elderly guests at a Yarmouth hotel had to be evacuated under emergency procedures in the middle of the night last week after fire broke out.

The guests, in their 60s and 70s, were on a coach tour of the Norfolk coast and had been booked in overnight at the New Beach Hotel.

According to fire officers, the blaze started in a cafe below the hotel. Prompt action by the firefighters stopped the blaze spreading upwards into the hotel

Hotel manager Ingo Maxfield praised the good humour of the guests.

"They made no fuss at all as they were being evacuated- even though many of them were just in their pyjamas and nightgowns and wheel chairs," he said.

"Luckily the following day was planned as a rest day for most of them so they could get their heads down and get some sleep to help recover."

Among the pensioners themselves there was talk of the wartime spirit.

Audrey Bateman, 78, from Sheffield, said: "Nobody panicked. They were wonderful. They all worked well together. People said are you alright? Do you want anything? It was a real wartime spirit."

A number of the pensioners required treatment for smoke inhalation but no serious injuries were reported. The fire is thought to have started from an electrical fault.

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By Andrew Smith

E-mail your comments to Chris Druce here.

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