Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 12:16 UK

Major fire destroys resort hotel


Fire rages at the Grand Hotel in Blackpool

A hotel has been destroyed and hundreds of people were led to safety during a fire in Blackpool.

About 100 firefighters tackled flames at the six-storey Grand Hotel in Station Road on Monday night.

Some 100 people were evacuated from 60 holiday flats and a nightclub as a fire service spokesman described the scene as "like something from the Blitz".

Police have closed Station Road and Lytham Road and the hotel is expected to be demolished.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service was called to the area at 2150 BST on Monday.

A spokesman said: "It's a scene of absolute devastation, the hotel was collapsing."

As well as leading people to safety from the nightclub and holiday flats, other buildings including guesthouses and hotels were evacuated as a precaution.

The spokesman added: "At the fire's height it looked like something from the Blitz.

"It is not yet clear how the fire began but we are not ruling out arson."

The building, made up of 52 self-contained flats, is currently for sale for £1.3m.

During the incident, floors and walls collapsed as firefighters attempted to extinguish the flames.

Nobody was injured and people left without a bed were taken to Palatine Sports Centre.

Grand Hotel, Blackpool
Fire investigators said they are 'not ruling out arson'

More than a 250,000 litres of water was pumped from the Sandcastle Waterpark in the town to enable fire crews to bring the flames under control.

Firefighters also had to tackle a number of smaller fires which began when embers and debris from the main fire were spread by strong winds, said the fire service.

Engineers from Blackpool Council will visit the site later to make a full assessment.

Meanwhile, Lancashire Police are urging witnesses to come forward.

Det Insp Frank Wamsley said: "We are particularly keen to trace two males and a female who were seen at the rear of the hotel last night.

"We want them to come forward to confirm that they are safe and well and to help us with our investigation."

Road closures remain in place on Withnell Road, Station Road and Lytham Road.

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