Eastbourne hotel fire: ‘A bit of town’s history gone’

Witnesses at the scene of the raging Eastbourne hotel fire gave their accounts of the incident.

Friday, 22nd November 2019, 7:38 pm
Jane de Weck Photography SUS-191122-123100001

At 8.50am today a fire broke out at The Claremont Hotel on the seafront. Twelve fire engines rushed to the scene along with police and paramedics.

Eyewitnesses Alan and Jenny Powell, holidaymakers from Cheltenham staying at The Claremont Hotel, said, “We were having breakfast. There was an explosion. We were in a section of the dining room. The next section’s wall blew up. People were on the floor. Cutlery was everywhere.

“Our room is on fire now, right at the top of the building.”

Eastourne hotel fire SUS-191122-124331001

The couple were evacuated from the building and later made their way to a charity shop to purchase fresh clothing.

Mike Lang, from Willingdon Road, said, “I was shopping and the smoke was in the high street. I have been a resident here for a long time. I go into the Claremont for a drink. The smoke was wafting right across the road. Personally I love the hotel, it is used by a lot of people. Now it is gone, completely. It is a bit of Eastbourne’s history gone. It is so sad because it is Christmas.”

Jade Milnes, resident from Grand Parade, said, “I heard sirens at about 9.30. I live near the Tea Rooms. Then when seven, eight, nine sirens went past I thought ‘what is going on?’ Then my Dad rang me and told me what was happening. So I came down.”

Jamie Rex, who lives at Savoy Court, said, “I have never seen anything like this before. I heard a bang then there was debris and I got some stuck in my eye.”

One onlooker said, “I heard something so I came out and saw lots of sirens come down the road. There was lots of smoke. I saw lots of smoke, it was really strong and was coming down the street.”

Another local said, “I came down because I could see the flames from my flat.”