Man killed in seaside hotel fire

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The Independent Online

Fire crews were searching a gutted hotel today after a blaze which killed one man.

The victim was rescued by firemen but died after being pulled from the flames which engulfed the Manor Hotel in Blackpool, Lancs, at around 3.25am.

Part of the four-storey hotel collapsed and firemen were checking the building to ensure no other occupants were trapped inside.

Initial reports suggested six people were in the building, but all escaped or were evacuated by firemen, including the victim who died.

Four were suffering from minor smoke inhalation and a fifth person suffered more serious injuries but they are not thought to be life-threatening.

John Taylor, of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Most probably everyone is accounted for, without confirming as to who was in the hotel.

"We have to be cautious but, as far as we are aware, everyone is out of the hotel."

At the height of the blaze, around 60 firemen fought the fire, with the same number of people evacuated from neighbouring hotels and B&Bs.

The hotel is on a block close to the Blackpool Promenade, a section of which has been closed.

Mr Taylor said: "We need to be absolutely certain no-one else is in there.

"We have not been told that there is, but until we have been through everything - part of the building has collapsed - we need to reserve judgment.

"When we got there we were told there were six people. It is clearly a very intense fire.

"At one point there was 60 firefighters in attendance. They had to get out of the building because it was in danger of collapse and part of it has collapsed.

"The severity of the fire was such that one firefighter... his BA (breathing apparatus) was smouldering and starting to burn."

Mr Taylor said the blaze was now out and firefighters were sifting through the rubble and working with building inspectors to check the site.

"It seems to have started in the basement but there is no information as to what the cause was," he said. "We can't rule anything out."

An ambulance service spokeswoman said the dead man was treated for cardiac arrest while he was being taken to hospital but was later confirmed dead.

Lancashire Police said the victim's name could not yet be released as they were still contacting next of kin.

Around 40 of those evacuated from neighbouring buildings were taken to a local leisure centre.

A section of the central Prom near the hotel, from Rigby Street to Vauxhall Square, has been closed to traffic and trams.

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