Investigation after 'arson attack' at Blackpool hotel
An investigation has been launched after a suspected arson attack on a derelict hotel in Blackpool.
Police and fire services say last night's major fire at the former Ambassador Hotel, at the junction of The Promenade and Derby Road, is believed to be "suspicious" and have now launched an inquiry.
Fire crews from across the county were called out to fight the blaze at around 8.15pm on Wednesday, January 10.
Ten appliances, including a central command unit and an Aerial Ladder Platform fought the fire bringing it under control by around 10pm.
Crew Manager Darren Gregson said: "When crews arrived the top floor was well alight and the fire was breaking through the roof.
"We placed crews at the rear of the hotel on the fire escape using jets. The Aerial Ladder Platform was then set up and crews used this to bring the fire under control.
"Once the fire was contained, we gained entry at the front of the property and committed firefighters in breathing apparatus to conduct a search.
"We had been told by passers-by that the building was frequently used by rough sleepers and there were concerns that people may have been inside.
"12 firefighters in breathing apparatus searched the building but nobody was found.
"Firefighters were also tasked to search the roof space in the adjoining hotel to ensure that the fire had not spread.
"We were very lucky that it wasn't windy. If it had been windy it would have been a different matter.
"The fire is suspicious in origin and we are now conducting an investigation."
A specialist investigation team is due to visit the building today to inspect the building.
Several roads were closed while crews battled the fire - all roads have since re-opened.
On July 16 last year, a mattress in a corridor had been set alight inside the hotel. Fire crews were at the scene for 90 minutes to search the property. No one was hurt.
And on October 21 last year, loose rubbish in the basement had been set ablaze by suspected intruders. Police were informed of both incidents.
Claire Smith, of Stay Blackpool, said: "These sort of incidents are the problem that people are facing with large derelict hotels. We went through the same process with The Warwick - they fall into disrepair, people get inside them and sadly they end up sadly like the Ambassador has.
"You can see what is going to happen and it's a circle that is very difficult to stop. You just have to hope that no one is injured and the damage is only to the property and not people.
"Large derelict properties like cause untold problems for hoteliers near to them. "It's in a prime location, I'm very surprised it has not been sold by now."
Firefighters remained at the scene until 1am on Thursday, January 11.