Crews tackle large fire at derelict hotel

Joint statement issued on behalf of Avon Fire & Rescue Service, North Somerset Council and Avon and Somerset Constabulary:

Following last night’s severe fire at the former Royal Pier Hotel in Weston-super-Mare, fire crews have continued their work at the scene damping down and checking for any remaining hot spots.

Due to the instability of the structure, fire officers have been unable to access the inside of the building. This morning, North Somerset Council’s Building Control Manager was on-site assessing the remaining structure and following his inspection it has been determined that the building will need to be demolished.

Police received information yesterday evening from a witness at the scene which suggested there may have been someone inside the premises before the fire started.

Due to the instability of the building it has not been possible to gain access to the inside of the premises. However visual inspections were carried out from above the structure this morning using an aerial appliance as well as the Avon and Somerset Constabulary helicopter. Neither of these inspections presented any further evidence to suggest anyone remains inside the building, however this cannot be ruled out until closer inspection of the site takes place following controlled demolition.

The demolition process will enable fire investigators to enter the site to determine the cause of the fire. North Somerset Council is arranging for the demolition of the structure to begin before the weekend.

Yesterday evening North Somerset Council made arrangements for 12 residents from neighbouring properties to be accommodated overnight at the nearby Dauncey’s Hotel. Today, all residents living in the vicinity of the hotel have been allowed to return to their homes.

Birkett Road and a stretch of Birnbeck Road between the Royal Pier Hotel and the junction with Madeira Road remain closed. Birkett Road is likely to remain closed until the structure has been demolished.

Police are asking anyone who was in the area at the time and saw anything suspicious to contact Weston-super-Mare CID on 0845 456 7000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.  They never ask for your name and never trace your call.

Wednesday 29 September
17.57 Royal Pier Hotel, Birnbeck Road, Weston-super-Mare

More than 40 firefighters have spent the night tackling a severe fire at the former Royal Pier Hotel.

More than 30 999 calls were received by the AF&RS Control room and on arrival crews found a well developed fire. Using ground monitors outside the derelict premises and two aerial appliances to act as water towers crews worked hard to bring the blaze under control. At the height of the fire more than 40 firefighters were on the scene.

Firefighters were not committed into the building due to the severity of the fire and the instability of the premises.

Information received from a witness at the scene led to reports that two people were seen in the building shortly before the fire started. AF&RS has been working alongside Avon and Somerset Constabulary to investigate this information, but at this stage there are no further updates.

Two fire engines and the Combined Aerial Rescue Pump (CARP) remain on the scene this morning (Thursday 30 September) damping down and checking for hotspots. It’s thought AF&RS will be on the scene for much of the day and an investigation into the cause of the fire is expected to commence later.

The building was left badly damaged by the fire and AF&RS would advise people to keep away from the area due to the instability of the structure. A number of cordons remain in place at this time.