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Firefighters tackle blaze at the Clifton Hotel on The Leas, Folkestone

Five fire engines battled a big blaze at a hotel in Folkestone yesterday morning.

Around 30 firefighters dealt with the incident at the Best Western Clifton Hotel on The Leas which started shortly after 6.30am.

The fire started in an electrical room on the ground floor and then spread to the first floor of the six storey building.

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Billowing black smoke could be seen spilling out of the hotel when crews arrived.

Seven guests and staff were safely evacuated from the hotel and everyone was accounted for, Kent Fire and Rescue Service said.

Crews tackled the blaze wearing breathing apparatus and using three hose reels with two covering jets and hydrants to prevent it from spreading.

In total, eight appliances were on the scene including five fire engines and other support vehicles.

The scene of the fire. Picture: Paul Duffield.
The scene of the fire. Picture: Paul Duffield.

They also used thermal imaging cameras and reduced the number of crews to three some four hours after the blaze started, at 10.40am.

The operation began winding down at 1pm with a stop time finally issued after eight hours at 2.29pm.

Staff who were gathered outside the hotel watching fire crews work said part of the kitchen and a small corner of the restaurant have been damaged but "not too seriously".

They added they evacuated the hotel quickly with the fire doors automatically shutting when the alarm was raised.

They said they were "confident" that it would be repaired quickly and in time for Christmas as much of the materials in the kitchen area were "metal and would not burn" and that the room was properly secured and fire proof walls and fire doors prevented it spreading further.

Officer in charge, Group Manager Rupert Roberts, said: "Crews used cold cutting fire equipment to attack the fire externally.

"Then the breathing apparatus teams went into the heavily smoke logged building and did an excellent job of preventing the fire spreading to the restaurant area and above the first floor.

"By midday they were cutting away to expose hot spots."

Video: The fire at the Best Western Clifton Hotel (courtesy of Kent Fire and Rescue Service)

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