Firefighters’ battle with a blaze at an historic Brighton hotel enters its third day this morning (Monday, July 17). Fire crews are still trying to extinguish the fire – but plans to demolish the building are also being considered.
High winds have hampered efforts to put out the fire at the Royal Albion Hotel, after crews were called to the scene at about 5.30pm on Saturday. On Sunday night, East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (ESFRS) said the incident was ongoing – and that they expected to remain on scene through the evening.
A number of roads around Brighton will remain in place overnight the fire service has said. Fortunately, there are still no reports of casualties.
The Old Steine and part of Kings Road have been closed, with people advised to stay away from the area due to “significant smoke”. Firefighters have scaled back to six engines and two aerial ladders since 2.19pm, and immediate commander Chris Baker said crews were “focusing their efforts on extinguishing the fire in the west wing” of the hotel.
A ‘Plan B’ of demolishing the building is also being considered but was not expected to take place overnight, it goes ahead. Speaking on Sunday night, an ESFRS spokesperson said: “The incident is ongoing. Firefighters are using ground monitors, main jets and an aerial ladder platform to fight the fire.
“We expect to remain on scene through the evening. Please stay away from the area and keep windows and doors closed.
“There are still no reports of casualties. An investigation is underway, but is not expected to conclude for some time.
“We continue to receive significant support from Sussex Police, Ambulance services, Southern Water, Building Control and BHCC emergency planning.”
Of the approximately 100 people evacuated from the surrounding area, it is believed that they have either found another place to stay or are being supported by the council to find a temporary alternative. It is understood that the hotel has found other accommodation for all its guests.
Councilor Bella Sankey, leader of Brighton & Hove City Council, said: “These are very sad scenes in our city. On behalf of the city council I want to give my thanks to the emergency services for attending the fire at the historic Royal Albion Hotel in the heart of our city.
“We urge everyone to continue following advice from emergency services and to please keep away from the area.”
The 219-bedroom regency-style hotel, which overlooks Brighton Pier, was built in 1826. It is run by Britannia Hotels. Part of the building was Grade II* listed by English Heritage and suffered a previous fire in November 1998.