Eastbourne fire in pictures: “I thought I was going to die”

By Daniel DeFalco and Charlie Parker-Turner

Eastbourne seafront was evacuated this morning following a raging fire at the Claremont Hotel, opposite Eastbourne Pier.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service confirmed the hotel was evacuated safely and everyone has been accounted for, although a hotel chef has described the terror of being inside the burning building.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said: “I can’t lie, I thought I was gonna die. I was in there for a little while but the fire brigade came and saved me. Basically, if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know what would’ve happened to me.”

But despite the swift evacuation of guests, the chef believes he was unaware of the inferno within the building. He said: “It was quick for the other people. I didn’t know what was going on, I should’ve knew.”

The cause of the fire is being investigated, but the chef believes that it was a gas leak in the restaurant that started the blaze.

At 8.52am the fire service responded to reports of a fire in the basement at the hotel, and by 11.30 the blaze required the efforts of 12 fire engines alongside specialist appliances, with fire crews from as far as Bognor Regis coming to battle against the flames.

The shaken chef praised the heroic efforts of the brave fire service who came to his rescue.

He said: “Thank you, really. Because without them I would be dead. “

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