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Fire at the Grand Hotel in The Leas, Folkestone sees building evacuated

By Matt Leclere

Fire crews were called to The Grand Hotel in Folkestone when a blaze broke out in an electrical cupboard in the basement.

Three fire engines from Folkestone, Hythe and Dover were sent to the scene at The Leas at just before 7pm last night.

The hotel was evacuated as firefighters wearing breathing apparatus searched the upper floors to check the fire had not spread.

The scene at the Grand Hotel. PIcture via @kent_999s
The scene at the Grand Hotel. PIcture via @kent_999s

Folkestone crew manager Andy Batchelor said: "It was in an electrical intake room in the basement area. There were breathing apparatus crews and two crews search due to smoke that had spread and helping residents that couldn't evacuate.

"There were a number of residents, probably over 50, that were evacuated into the caring arms of the ambulance."

He said it was not yet clear how the fire had started but added: "It was contained to the electrical room and we're waiting for a more detailed investigation but it was contained to that room.

"If a fire alarm goes in a building you don't know make sure you are familiar with the safety rules and instructions and don't get complacent if alarms are going off."

One woman was given a precautionary check-up at the scene.

Crews remained to ventilate the building but all guests were later allowed back in and the crews stepped down at 10.30pm.

The hotel was built in the early 1900s by Folkestone builder Daniel Baker - who later became the town's mayor.

It struck up an intense rivalry with The Metropole hotel next door and was a retreat for several high status guests. King Edward VII was said to be a frequent visitor with Folkestonians wandering along The Leas trying to catch a glimpse of him through the windows.

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