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Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

Author Bio ▼

James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
March 17, 2023

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Fire safety

Major fire incident at Midhurst Hotel in Sussex

Over 30 people were evacuated after a fire broke out at the 400-year-old Angel Inn in Midhurst Hotel in the early hours of Thursday (16/03) morning.

The hotel, which housed Ukrainian refugees, was engulfed by the blaze. The fire was believed to have started in a property on the same street, before spreading to the roof of the Angel Inn.

14 fire engines were eventually called to the scene, with two aerial ladders also being used by the West Sussex Fire and Rescue Services (WSFRS).

No casualties were reported, and the cause of the fire is currently unknown. The fire service has said that the cause is not suspicious.

A local resident from Hilton Holloway, who witnessed the fire, said that there “were a number of Ukrainian refugees in the hotel, which had around 15 rooms”, according to reports from the BBC.

Area Manager for the WSFRS, Richard Abbot, provided an update via social media in the early hours of the morning.

Abbot described it as a “significant fire”, with 30 people safely evacuated from the hotel. Resident were advised to keep their windows and doors closed as “there was large amounts of smoke in the area”.

An investigation into the causes of the fire is ongoing.

Warnings over hotel fires

Several recent articles on IFSEC Global have raised the issue of growing concerns around hotel fire safety.

Three people lost their lives in a hotel fire in Scotland in January, after a hotel audit revealed there were concerns over inadequate fire doors and compartmentation measures just three weeks before the incident broke out.

Writing in February, Hunter Seymour explored the issue of hotels being used as ‘contingency’ measures for asylum seekers and refugees – likely creating new, unpredictable elements of risks to buildings.


READ: “Contingency” hotel crisis tightens focus on fire risk


The article contained the below safety checklist for hoteliers based on the UK Government’s Fire Safety Risk Assessment for Sleeping Accommodation.

  • Fire risk assessments should be carried out annually and at any time there are material changes to the building.
  • Identify potential fire hazards and people on the premises especially at risk.
  • Fire Safety training is essential for staff and regular fire drills should be undertaken, including instruction for all newcomers to your staff.
  • Emergency lighting, firefighting equipment, escape routes, visual and audible alarms should be checked regularly in accordance with RRFSO-compliant routines.
  • High-risk areas such as kitchens should be a particular focus of precautionary measures.
  • Routine checks, training and drills need to be recorded in a safety book.
  • Fire doors should not be wedged open and should not be damaged.
  • Ensure no escape routes are blocked.
  • Fire action notices should be near to call points. Specifically, in hotel rooms, there should be signs on bedroom doors with instructions to occupants in case of a fire.
  • All emergency exit signs should be visible and illuminated.
  • Prepare and review an effective emergency plan to evacuate the building during a fire.
  • Routinely check fire extinguishers to ensure they are undamaged, full, and in their correct locations.
  • Ensure you have staff dedicated to role of fire warden or fire marshal.
  • For premises with a multi-zoned alarm system, display – adjacent to the control panel – a schematic plan showing the fire alarm zones to aid firefighters.

 

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