AN investigation is underway today after a terrifying blaze ripped through a Blackpool hotel.
Around 75 firefighters were drafted in to tackle the huge flames which spread across each of the five floors of The Astoria Hotel, on Albert Road, last night.
Firefighters, who feared people were trapped inside the building, said they were faced with treacherous conditions as they searched the property.
The search revealed no-one was inside the building but a dog, belonging to the hotel owners, died in the fire, which started shortly after 6pm yesterday.
Residents and owners of nearby hotels and shops were evacuated during the drama.
Denise Rendall, owner of The Albert Hotel opposite The Astoria, said: “We were devastated to see what’s happened. These are our friends and they’ve lost their livelihood.
“We had been out and arrived home to see it, we’re just shocked. I heard the flames were huge.”
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, Wesham, Lytham, Preesall, Bamber Bridge and Penwortham, attended the scene.
Full story and pictures will appear in Monday’s Gazette.