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Fire crews praised after vicious blaze

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A HOTELIER today praised the firefighters who battled a serious blaze at a Blackpool guest house and saved neighbouring businesses.

Flames ripped through The Astoria, on Albert Road, on Sunday night, with 75 firefighters drafted in to tackle the flames.

And today Jonathan Hartley, who owns the neighbouring hotel, The Malibu, joined fire chiefs in praising the crews who worked hard to stop the fire spreading.

He said had it not been for the quick response of the fire service the incident could have been much worse.

Mr Hartley added: “I’m upset because I know the hotel’s owners well and it was a good establishment.

“I’m glad the fire crews had such a quick response, they did a really good job and it could have been a lot worse.

“We are closed on Sundays and The Astoria was empty as well so luckily there was 
no-one to evacuate.”

Mr Hartley, who lives at the rear of his hotel, said he feared the fire would also engulf his property.

The fire started shortly after 6pm, and Mr Hartley said: “I was worried about my property and we shut off the gas.

“The fire alarm was going off and we had to come out of the building just to breathe.

“The fire brigade were worried about it spreading to our hotel because we were very close to it. It was scary.

“The initial smell had us on edge, it was really panicky.”

The fire spread into the basement of the Astoria and through the first and second floors.

A total of 14 fire engines, including two each from Blackpool, Fleetwood, St Annes and Blackburn fire stations and one each from South Shore, Bispham, Lytham, Preesall, Bamber Bridge and Penwortham attended the scene.

Owners and residents in the adjacent hotels were advised to evacuate, and Albert Road was cordoned off for four hours.

Fire investigators spent much of yesterday at the hotel looking into the cause of the blaze which is believed to have broken out in a laundry room in the private accommodation area.

John Charters, station manager at Blackpool Fire Station, added: “At the moment we’ve nothing to suggest the fire is suspicious.

“We’re satisfied the room the fire originated in was the laundry but as to what the cause was that’s still for consideration. The investigation is ongoing.”

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