UPDATED: Arrests as police launch arson investigation into blaze at derelict Blackpool hotel
Two people have been arrested by police investigating a huge fire that gutted another Blackpool Promenade hotel.
Detectives say they believe the blaze at the derelict Warwick Hotel, on New South Promenade, was started deliberately.
An 18-year-old woman and a 15-year-old boy are both in custody and were due to be quizzed by police on Tuesday.
At its peak, there were around 50 firefighters tackling the inferno, which started at 8.50pm on Monday.
Flames could be seen tearing through the roof space of the former 50-bedroom hotel, which closed three years ago.
Firefighters fought the blaze using two aerial ladder platforms to try to stop it spreading.
Around 40 guests at the nearby Headlands Hotel, mostly pensioners, were evacuated to the Colwyn Hotel where they spent the night.
Crews spent most of the night at the scene and were today due to enter the ravaged building to see if anyone was inside, amid fears it may have been used by squatters.
On Tuesday morning, a Lancashire Fire and Rescue spokesman said: “We have been damping down at the Warwick Hotel, Blackpool, overnight. A full search of the building and the investigation will start at 9am.”
No injuries have been reported.
Police sealed off the Prom between Burlington Road West and Harrowside West on Monday night.
Speaking last night, a Lancashire Fire and Rescue spokesman: “We were called at 8:50pm. The fire started on the left of the building and move towards the Headland Hotel and we evacuated guests.
“We were told the flames were coming from the roof, we quickly got 10 fire engines and two aerial ladder platforms. We are continuing to dampen down, we can’t at this moment go inside and search the property and see for certain no one is inside. It is going to require the roof to be shored up.
“There is nothing to suggest people are inside but we have heard from previous fires in the area there might be some squatters.
“We will be here most of the night.”
A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “The fire is being treated as arson.
“An 18-year-old woman from Lytham and a 15-year-old boy from St Annes have been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life. They are currently in custody.”
The Warwick Hotel closed suddenly in March 2012 when its owners UK Holiday Group decided to shut it down claiming Blackpool was “not a good place to be”.
Fifty jobs were lost. The hotel has remained boarded up ever since. The blaze comes a year after the nearby Palm Beach hotel, also on New South Promenade, was seriously damaged by fire.
Around 70 firefighters tackled the inferno at the Palm Beach on June 5 2014.