A WOMAN has been arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with a blaze at a Blackpool hotel.
The 49-year-old was taken into custody for questioning following the incident at the Alandene Hotel on Park Road.
Meanwhile, residents today praised the rescuers who led them to safety.
A total of 14 people, including holidaymakers and residents, escaped unharmed after flames broke out in the middle of the night.
They were taken to an emergency rest centre set up at Spencer Court Community Centre on Talbot Road, Layton, by Blackpool Council.
Firefighters, who were called to the scene at 3.30am yesterday, were confronted by flames pouring out of a first floor bedroom.
A joint police and fire service investigation has been launched into the cause of the blaze which is being treated as suspicious.
Nicola North, 47, and her mother Kathleen, 77, who both live at the hotel as residents, were both taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Nicola said: “We were both asleep when one of our Jack Russells started trying to wake us up and Steve who owns the hotel was knocking on our window.
“We were quite close to where the fire started. We could see the flames and the place was thick with smoke so it was quite frightening.
“I was trying to get my mum out, and then the fire brigade and paramedics came and helped us.”
“She was panicking and they put her on a nebuliser on the way to hospital.”
Nicola was treated in hospital for a cut to her foot suffered as she tried to get out of the building, while her mother was treated for the effects of smoke inhalation.
Bob Herron, 64, also a hotel resident, said: “Gail and Steve who own the hotel evacuated everyone very speedily and with professionalism and then the three emergency services arrived very quickly so the people of Blackpool should be proud of that.
“Everyone was woken up by the fire alarm and Steve was on the scene immediately to make sure everyone got out calmly.
“There was a lot of thick smoke.
“We were brought to the rest centre and have been well looked after here.”
Karen Smith, head of care and support at Blackpool Council, said 10 adults and four children had been evacuated to the centre.
She said: “Many of them were still in their nightclothes and didn’t have anything on their feet because of the speed at which they had to be evacuated.
“So we made them comfortable and helped meet their immediate needs.”
Six fire engines were called to the incident.