Page last updated at 18:42 GMT, Wednesday, 5 May 2010 19:42 UK

Body found after fire at Majestic Hotel in Harrogate

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It is thought the fire may have started in a bedroom

A body has been found after a fire ripped through a listed Victorian hotel in Harrogate.

The victim was discovered in the fifth floor staff quarters of Harrogate's Majestic Hotel which was left severely damaged after Wednesday morning's fire.

Police confirmed that a kitchen porter, 41-year-old Nigel Butterfield, was still unaccounted for after the fire.

All 132 guests and 25 employees were earlier led to safety from the hotel which police say is now a crime scene.

The fire was described by police as "potentially suspicious".

Fire officers said the Majestic, one of the top hotels in the historic spa town, was likely to be out of action for some time after being severely damaged.

A large section of the hotel, including the ornate Grand Dining Room, suffered significant water damage in the major firefighting operation.

Majestic Hotel
The fire broke out in the early hours of Wednesday morning

The fire, which is thought to have started in the staff quarters of the 170-bedroom building, then spread to guest rooms on the fourth floor.

Sixteen appliances and around 90 firefighters tackled the blaze following 13 calls to the fire service from hotel guests and members of the public.

Guests were brought out of the Majestic, taken to a nearby hotel and provided with clothing by the council as many of them were in nightwear.

John Foster, of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "There's always confusion when these things happen especially when people are woken from their sleep, but the evacuation process went quite swiftly and we managed to get all the guests accounted for in good time."

He said it was too early to speculate on the cause of the blaze, but that an investigation would be carried out.

Philip Malkin, a guest at the Majestic, said: "At the front left of the hotel it was very seriously ablaze at five o'clock this morning. Police arrived and evacuated most of the guests."



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