Falmouth Beach Hotel Fire LATEST: Fire ravaged hotel to return 'bigger and better'

Falmouth Packet: The hotel on Friday afternoon The hotel on Friday afternoon

***This live blog followed the action at the Falmouth Beach Hotel fire as it happened.***

(The blog is no longer being updated, but to read it all from the beginning, please scroll to the bottom of the article and read each update chronologically.)

LATEST 13:00 Wednesday, May 9

THE OWNERS of the devastated Falmouth Beach Hotel have vowed to rebuild the fire-ravaged property ‘bigger and better’ than ever before.

The Cliff Road complex was practically destroyed last week when a small fire turned into an inferno, whipped up by gale force winds.

Demolition work has already begun at the site, with cranes and bulldozers removing the unstable structural remains of the hotel.

It is hoped a new hotel will rise from the ashes as soon as next Easter – and the owners have vowed to turn the devastating events of last Monday into positive news for Falmouth.

A spokesman for the hotel said: “Following the devastating fire at the Best Western Falmouth Beach Hotel in Falmouth on Monday April 30, the careful demolition of the property has now begun.

“Once completed, the Evans family, who have owned the property since 1984, plan to rebuild, with the aspiration of being ‘bigger and better’ than ever before.

“Since the tragedy occurred both Best Western and the Evans family have been inundated with heart-warming messages of support and good wishes and we would like to thank everyone for their continuing support at what has been a difficult time.

“Any guests wishing to know further information about their planned Best Western bookings at this hotel can still contact the reservations team by telephone on 0845 313 0114.

“The wedding coordinator has now tried to make contact with all couples offering assistance.”

The neighbouring St Michael’s Hotel reopened to the public last Friday, after smoke from the fire had forced its closure for four days.

Owner Nigel Carpenter said: “We are all very saddened by the loss of our next door neighbour.

“Our thoughts are with Hazel Evans, owner of The Falmouth Beach Resort Hotel, all of the staff and their families. It is at times like these when you realise how strong the local community is.

“Many of our fellow hoteliers, suppliers, customers and friends have all been in touch to offer support and we are grateful to all those who have helped us to get St Michael’s operational again.”

The community spirit displayed during the fire was also praised by Richard Wilcox, manager of Falmouth BID.

He said: “There has been a colossal swell of support for everyone involved with the Falmouth Beach Hotel fire and we have had call after call from other local businesses asking what they can do to help their colleagues, and the town, at this very difficult and sad time.

“Other hotels have stepped in to offer free accommodation and hospitality for the Beach Hotel’s guests and also to offer like-for-like options for people who were scheduled to get married there.

LATEST 10:00 Monday, May 7

Demolition work is well underway at Falmouth Beach Hotel, which was destroyed by fire last week.

The images were captured this morning, (Monday), with workers knocking down what was left of the upper part of the building.

For the full Gallery CLICK HERE

LATEST - END OF DAY UPDATE Friday, May 4

St Michael’s Hotel and Spa in Falmouth has re-opened for business, after a fire gutted the neighbouring Falmouth Beach Hotel.

St Michael’s was evacuated on Monday and closed for two days while staff dealt with smoke damage to some of the bedrooms and public areas.

After a major clean-up operation the hotel has reopened in time for the Bank Holiday weekend. Following the evacuation, hotel guests were accommodated at other local hotels. The Greenlawns Hotel , in particular, helped staff and guests of St Michael’s throughout the day.

Proprietor of St Michael’s Hotel & Spa, Nigel Carpenter said: “We are all very saddened by the loss of our next door neighbour. Our thoughts are with Hazel Evans, owner of The Falmouth Beach Resort Hotel, all of the staff and their families. It is at times like these when you realise how strong the local community is. Many of our fellow hoteliers, suppliers, customers and friends have all been in touch to offer support and we are grateful to all those who have helped us to get St Michael’s operational again.”

The damage to St Michael’s Hotel was caused by smoke blowing towards the hotel. Due to swift action by staff when smoke first stared to appear, the damage to the hotel was limited.

Nigel added: "Our staff have worked incredibly hard to get the hotel back on track after all of the smoke damage and I am extremely proud of them all. I hope, now that we have reopened, we can help many of the people, both guests and staff, who are affected by the loss of the Falmouth Beach Resort Hotel.”

St Michael’s Hotel’s recruitment team is encouraging any staff from Falmouth Beach Resort Hotel who are out of work as a result of the fire to get in touch as they do have a number of current vacancies. People are invited to email Lorraine Collins to enquire about vacancies, lorrainecollins@stmichaelshotel.co.uk.

LATEST 12.50 Friday

The Falmouth Beach Hotel has been handed back to the owners by the fire service four days after a fire gutted the building.

Most of the charred remains will have to be demolished to make the site safe.

A crane has already moved onto the site, and it is thought that much of the hotel's remaining structure will have to be demolished.

The road past the hotel was still closed this afternoon (Friday).

The cause of the fire, which tore through the building on Monday has been initially linked to a tar heater being used for roofing/balcony repairs.

There are hopes the hotel will rise from the ashes after the owners said they would rebuild.

A spokesman for the hotel owner Hazel Evans and the Evans family said: "While we cannot say how long it will take, we have every intention of rebuilding the hotel to its former glory and beyond, and once again providing a beautiful place to stay in Falmouth’s premier seafront location."

LATEST 14:30

Offers of help have flooded in after guests were left stranded by Monday's fire at the Falmouth Beach Hotel.

Richard Wilcox, manager of Falmouth BID, said he had been inundated by people offering support.

He said: “There has been a colossal swell of support for everyone involved with the Falmouth Beach Hotel fire and we have had call after call from other local businesses asking what they can do to help their colleagues, and the town, at this very difficult and sad time.

"Other hotels have stepped in to offer free accommodation and hospitality for the Beach Hotel’s guests and also to offer like-for-like options for people who were scheduled to get married there.

"What has been shown is the tremendous community spirit that exists across Falmouth and Cornwall which is very touching at times like this."

The hotel itself is now trying to contact all those with bookings for the next few months.

A statement issued today reads: "If you have a booking with us, we sincerely apologise for the disruption to your travel plans in the wake of Monday's fire.

"If you made a booking with us after 28th March 2012, please contact us on 01326 310500.

"If your booking was made before this date, we will endeavour to contact you within the next 10 days regarding your reservation."

LATEST 10.30am Wednesday

The owners of the Falmouth Beach Hotel have vowed to rebuild and thanked the public and business for their outpouring of support.

They have also confirmed that the the spa will be closed until further notice.

A spokesman for the hotel said: "We deeply regret to announce that due to extensive and severe fire damage sustained on April 30, Best Western Falmouth Beach Hotel and the Beach Club leisure complex will be closed until further notice.

"On behalf of the entire hotel team, we are very sorry for any inconvenience or upset this may cause. "Hotel owner Hazel Evans and the Evans family have been extremely touched by the overwhelming support and good wishes they have received at this difficult time and would like to thank everyone who has been in touch.

"The hotel team would also like to thank Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service for their bravery and our neighbouring businesses for rallying round and providing such fantastic support, particularly Gylly Beach Cafe and the Anacapri Hotel.

"While we cannot say how long it will take, we have every intention of rebuilding the hotel to its former glory and beyond, and once again providing a beautiful place to stay in Falmouth’s premier seafront location."

LATEST 14:00

A hot barrel of tar being used for roofing repairs may have been the cause of the fire that gutted Falmouth Beach Hotel, fire and police sources say.

At a press briefing this afternoon, Detective Chief Inspector John Trott said: "Early indications show that there was a roofing company doing some work and the fire was a result of the roofing work that was going on.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service area manager Kevin Thomas added: "A piece of equipment that was used to heat or warm up tar on the third floor appeared to be the cause of the fire.

Hot spots were still being damped down by sea water pumped from Falmouth Docks, Mr Thomas said.

He added: It's very much a defensive fire fighting operation for us, we are certainly on top of it, but we will be here for sometime to make sure the fire is fully extinguished."

LATEST 13:40

MP Sarah Newton has released a statement paying tribute to the "hard working staff" of the Falmouth Beach Hotel who had suffered "tragedy."

She said: "Yesterday was a very sad day for Falmouth, but a tragedy for the hard working staff of the Falmouth Beach Hotel.

"I am at sea with the Royal Navy’s HMS Ocean, in my absence my office has been in touch with the hotel manager, and offered him all my support as he leads his team forward in the aftermath of the devastating blaze.

"I hope to be meeting with staff members later this week to discuss further what help I can offer.

"I pay tribute to the fire-fighters, ably assisted by police and coastguards, who bravely contained the fire and eventually brought it under control. Thanks to their efforts it appears the casualties have been avoided; now the work of rebuilding the livelihoods of those affected by that dreadful fire begins."

LATEST 12:15

Yesterday's fire destroyed 104 out of the Falmouth Beach Hotel's 120 rooms according to a statement from Best Western.

The statement reads: "We can confirm that the fire, which broke out at the Best Western Falmouth Beach Hotel in Falmouth, is now out after fire crews battled to gain control over the flames.

"We believe that the fire crews managed to save the leisure club and 16 of the hotel’s 120 bedrooms from the fire, but unfortunately the rest of the property has been destroyed.

"Assessors are on scene this morning and we will be able to advise of further details once a full analysis has taken place.

"We are currently contacting all Best Western guests booked into the hotel over the forthcoming weeks to find alternative accommodation.

"Any Best Western guests wanting further information about their booking please call 0845 313 0114.

"We would like to praise the emergency services for their hard work on scene and also the hotel staff for their swift action."

LATEST 11:30

The three people feared missing from the Falmouth Beach Hotel have now been accounted for.

Investigations are now beginning into the cause of yesterday's devastating blaze.

The police have issued the following statement: "A joint Police and Fire Service investigation is being carried out into the incident.

"Whilst both services are keeping an open mind there does not appear to be any suspicious circumstance at this time.

"It appears that the three people previously thought to be unaccounted for have now been located together with all other residents and staff.

"However Police and Fire services are still ascertaining as to whether any non residents may have been present and not yet come forward."

LATEST 07:30, Tuesday, May 1

Firefighters remain on scene at the Falmouth Beach Hotel Resort this morning, damping down the still smouldering remains of the building.

Three guests remain unaccounted for, but police do not believe they were at the hotel at the time of the fire.

Investigations into the cause of the fire will be launched later today, when any remaining hotspots have been dealt with.

Speaking this morning, a fire service spokesman said: "Two relief appliances from Helston and Redruth have now arrived on scene, allowing the overnight appliances to return to their home stations.

"The high volume pump from Newquay along with the aerial ladder platform from Truro are remaining on scene at this time as well as the welfare vehicle from St. Dennis and the Incident Command Unit from St. Just.

"The scene is still being monitored, the crew are monitoring hot spots and damping down. A Fire Investigation will be taking place later this morning."

LATEST 17:15

A fire platform equipped with a water cannon is being used to douse the last of the flames, which have been licking around the left hand side of the building and burnt through the roof.

LATEST 16:49

The remaining sections of the hotel are still well alight, and the emergency services say it will be several hours until the blaze is extinguished.

Packet reporter Greg Fountain, who is at the scene, said: "Parts of the building are now looking close to collapse.

"The police are pushing people further away from the scene, I think they fear it is about to go."

More than 100 firefighters and a dozen fire appliances are at the scene of the fire.

It appears all of the hotel guests and staff are now accounted for and safe.

LATEST 15:52

Blur guitarist Graham Coxon has taken to Twitter after being evacuated from the burning Falmouth Beach Hotel.

Coxon, who is currently on a solo tour of the UK, is due to perform at the Princess Pavilion this evening and has been staying at the Falmouth Beach.

On his Twitter account Coxon has written: “We have rooms at the beach hotel and had to leave when the smell of smoke for [sic] a little much.”

He later added: “We watched it... We had to leave the foyer and then watch it get worse and worse..rather sad.”

Coxon also posted a picture of the fire.

LATEST 15:39

The roof of the Falmouth Beach Hotel has now disappeared entirely. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Partridge.

LATEST 15.05

The helicopter that landed on Gyllyngvase Beach was to take the chief fire officer up in the air, in order for him to inspect the damage at the Falmouth Beach Hotel from above.

LATEST 15.03

An emergency contact number has been released for St Michael’s Hotel guests to call for information: 07967 078696

LATEST 14:56

Visit Cornwall has released a telephone number for anyone concerned about accommodation bookings. With the tourist season underway and guests due to arrive at the Falmouth Beach Hotel in the coming days and months, the county’s tourism chiefs have released advice.

Enquiries about alternative accommodation bookings should be directed to the contact centre on 01872 322900.

LATEST 14:54

The building next door to the Falmouth Beach Hotel – thought to be still part of the hotel – is now on fire also.

LATEST14:43

A Sea King helicopter has landed on the beach at Gyllyngvase to drop off the chief fire officer, to oversee the attempts to save what is left of the Falmouth Beach Hotel and prevent it spreading further.

LATEST 14.39

There are still ten to 12 hotel guests still to be accounted for, according to a police officer outside the Falmouth Beach Hotel.

John Green, silver command officer for Cornwall Police, said the guests are believed to be holidaymakers out on a day trip.

He added that having worked with the fire service he did not think anyone was still in the hotel, but there were names still be accounted for.

Evacuees have been taken to the Emmanuel Baptist Church.

LATEST 14:17

The roof of the Falmouth Beach Hotel has collapsed - see photo by Rosie Dunkley

LATEST 13:45

The entire front section of the Falmouth Beach Hotel has just collapsed.

Storm force winds are hampering any attempts at putting out the fire, which is gutting the hotel.

The front and right hand side of the hotel has gone, with the back under threat.

Next door St Michael’s Hotel has been evacuated over fears of heat and smoke damage.

13:10

Guests at the burning Falmouth Beach Hotel are said to be all out safely, but the fire is having a “devastating” effect.

Described as “one of the worst [fires] I’ve seen” by Packet news editor David Thomas, firefighters are struggling to get the flames under control due to the strong wind.

He said: “It’s a huge fire. It’s destroying the building. It’s devastating.”

There are eight or nine fire engines at the scene, together with police and ambulances.

The fire appears to be centred around the third floor of the hotel, although the entire building is engulfed in smoke, with flames coming from some windows.

Owned by Best Western, the Falmouth Beach Hotel is described as 'hard to beat when it comes to seaside style.

'With panoramic coastal views to the Lizard Peninsula, the scenery you'll enjoy is just as unique.'

The fire started around 12.30pm just as the seafront hotel was preparing for lunch.

More to follow...

Comments (5)

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5:15pm Mon 30 Apr 12

Sassyanne says...

I am very saddened to see these images. I was a guest at the Falmouth Beach Hotel only 2 weeks ago and feel greatly for the staff and the owners. It was such a splendid hotel was looking forward to visiting it again. My sympathy to everyone and The firefighters are brilliant.
I am very saddened to see these images. I was a guest at the Falmouth Beach Hotel only 2 weeks ago and feel greatly for the staff and the owners. It was such a splendid hotel was looking forward to visiting it again. My sympathy to everyone and The firefighters are brilliant. Sassyanne

6:10pm Mon 30 Apr 12

purplewomble says...

So sad to see these pictures and video. We stayed for our wedding anniversary last November in one of the rooms on the third floor. Lovely sited venue.
So sad to see these pictures and video. We stayed for our wedding anniversary last November in one of the rooms on the third floor. Lovely sited venue. purplewomble

5:50am Wed 2 May 12

alanfcox says...

This was one of the hotels that was featured in the BBC Inside Out programme that I made with the BBC on Hotel Fire Safety.
A number of fire safety problems were highlighted including "wedged open" and poorly fitting fire doors, fire doors not self closing and without fire/smoke strips.
I did write to the owners about these problems and they replied that they would rectify them but I don't know if they ever completed this work.
This was one of the hotels that was featured in the BBC Inside Out programme that I made with the BBC on Hotel Fire Safety. A number of fire safety problems were highlighted including "wedged open" and poorly fitting fire doors, fire doors not self closing and without fire/smoke strips. I did write to the owners about these problems and they replied that they would rectify them but I don't know if they ever completed this work. alanfcox

7:13am Wed 2 May 12

bigsisterAu says...

As an ex Falmouth high school girl it saddens me to see such devistation. My father and Grandfather used to stay there in the 50's before my father purchased to Palm Beach Hotel which regretable has suffered the same fate. I do hope all have now been accounted for My sympathy to the owners and staff.
I now reside in Australia but check the packet from time to time as Falmouth still is a big part of my childhood
As an ex Falmouth high school girl it saddens me to see such devistation. My father and Grandfather used to stay there in the 50's before my father purchased to Palm Beach Hotel which regretable has suffered the same fate. I do hope all have now been accounted for My sympathy to the owners and staff. I now reside in Australia but check the packet from time to time as Falmouth still is a big part of my childhood bigsisterAu

3:26pm Tue 29 May 12

shenah.louise says...

Gutted to hear about the fire while on my honeymoon - we recently had our wedding reception at the hotel (the last one before the blaze), so many memories lost :(
Hopefully it will be restored to it former glory soon, and have many more happy memories made there xxx
Gutted to hear about the fire while on my honeymoon - we recently had our wedding reception at the hotel (the last one before the blaze), so many memories lost :( Hopefully it will be restored to it former glory soon, and have many more happy memories made there xxx shenah.louise

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