dead, four missing in UK hotel fire
August 19, 2007 07:15am
ONE man died and four people remained unaccounted
for after a deadly fire swept through a hotel in the
seaside resort of Newquay, southwest England early
Five people remain in hospital, two of whom are in
a critical condition, following the blaze at the four-storey
Penhallow Hotel in Cornwall, just after midnight yesterday
(0900 AEST Saturday).
"There are four unaccounted for guests at the
moment,'' police superintendent Barry Frost told BBC
television, downgrading an earlier estimate of between
six and 12 missing people.
Mr Frost said officially there were 90 guests and
staff in the building but it was still unclear whether
more people, such as friends of guests, were there
at the time.
He also appealed for information about a burglary
that happened at the premises shortly after 7pm today,
although he would not say whether there was a connection
with the fire, nor whether the blaze was arson.
The man who died jumped from a hotel window on the
second or third floor as the fire took hold, police
The fire destroyed the interior of the 54-room seafront
hotel, leaving only a smouldering exterior shell.
At its height, 120 firefighters were involved in
battling the inferno and 23 fire appliances were at
the scene, Cornwall County Fire Brigade said.
Staff from neighbouring hotels also made desperate
attempts to help the guests, many of whom were elderly
The dead man had yet to be identified, Mr Frost said.
Two elderly hotel guests were in a critical condition
Police must wait until demolition experts have made
the site secure before starting their hunt for the
missing people either late today or tomorrow.
Firefighters were still searching the building, Ted
Simpson, the brigade's deputy chief fire officer,
said. The missing people "may or may not be inside
Seventy-two survivors were being taken home to northwest
England this evening, said a spokesman for the Robinson
Holidays group, the parent company of the firm that
owns the hotel.