A Blackpool hotelier today spoke for the first time of his devastation after a huge fire left part of his business ruined.
Alec Entwistle, co-owner of The Allandale Hotel said he and his wife, Pauline, have been left “distraught” after their Promenade property was caught up in a major blaze at the neighbouring Howard’s Crest Hotel.
More than 60 firefighters were called to tackle the fire on Thursday.
Flames ripped through the roof of the Howard’s Crest and spread next door to The Allandale due to high winds.
Now bosses at The Allandale are facing a major clean-up operation
Mr Entwistle said: “We are distraught at what has happened – we’ve owned the hotel for close to 30 years.
“It all started with the strong winds. One of our signs had dropped down and we went up to the roof to inspect what had happened.
“Next thing we noticed smoke coming from the roof of the Howard’s Crest and soon enough the police and fire brigade had arrived.”
Flames could be seen leaping from the roof of the hotel as black smoke billowed from the building, with hoteliers near to the site told to leave their premises.
At its peak, 12 fire engines were called to tackle the flames, which took more than two hours to bring under control.
Mr Entwistle added: “Crews came to the top floor of the hotel and smashed through the ceiling of one room, creating a fire break.
“The part of the hotel joining next door has been severely damaged. Part of the roof was badly burned, while lots of rainwater has come in through the roof in the bad weather.
“I’ve no idea how much the damage will cost to fix. We are awaiting a report from the fire brigade into the cause of the fire and the insurance company is coming out to speak to us.
“We want to re-open as soon as possible.
“Until the insurance people come then we just do not know.”
It is believed workmen were checking the building for wind damage when the fire started.
It began in the roof space and spread through the rest of the building.
On Thursday, Pauline Entwistle told The Gazette: “Words cannot describe how it feels to see your own hotel catch fire.
“We’ve just spent about £10,000 making the front rooms ready for the new season, and that will all have been wrecked. It’s devastating.”
The Howard’s Crest remains clad in scaffolding, where renovation work had been going on inside for the last six months.
The dramatic hotel blaze at the Howard’s Crest started when materials being used to repair the roof caught fire, an investigation revealed.
A section of the Howard’s Crest roof was damaged when gale force winds hit Blackpool on Wednesday, forcing the owner to use a blow torch to put asphalt patches in place.
The combination of strong winds and a naked flame is believed to have resulted in the fire taking hold in a matter of seconds, leaving the owner helpless.
Rick Percival, incident intelligence officer for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It was purely an accident.”