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Historic first hotel in England goes up in flames

  • Published at 10:15 pm October 29th, 2016
Historic first hotel in England goes up in flames

The Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter, England, caught fire around 5:00am BST from a ruptured gas pipe in a neighbouring art gallery, reports BBC.

No casualties have been reported as all guests and staff quickly evacuated the burning building. Local fire services responded quickly but could not douse the fire soon enough.

Despite 20 fire engines working around the clock, the fire was too much for the centuries-old building due to the antiquated construction and materials used. The front facade collapsed swiftly and the interiors gave way soon.

The hotel was built in 1769 and was the first establishment in England to use the term hotel. It added Royal Clarence to the name after a visit from the Dutchess of Clarence in 1827. The Royal Clarence Hotel had seen plenty of stars from Admiral Nelson and composer Liszt to author Thomas Hardy and actor Clark Gable, aside from British royalty. The walls barely stand now and bear the name “Clarence Hotel” defiantly in the wake of the flames. Structural engineers have confirmed that the remnants of the building will fully collapse.

The building has been a landmark in the city and a concert has been cancelled at Exeter Cathedral.

Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell said: "We're grateful no one has been hurt in this incident but the community has lost a historic building which is a landmark of the city.”