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Published on November 22, 2019

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A chef trapped in the Claremont Hotel fire believed he was going to die until heroic firefighters rescued him from the building’s storeroom.

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.”

The chef says rubble blocked his escape and believes that he was trapped for up to 30 minutes before firefighters located him.

Visibly shaken by his ordeal, the chef praised the brave actions of his rescuers and admitted “without them I would be dead”.

At 8.52am this morning, the fire service responded to reports of a fire in the basement at the hotel and by 11.30am the blaze required the efforts of 12 fire engines alongside specialist appliances.

The cause of the fire has not yet been established and is under investigation, but the chef suspects a gas leak in the hotel’s restaurant may have caused an explosion.

Incident Commander and Assistant Chief Fire Officer Mark Andrews said: “This is a very serious incident and the fire took hold very quickly. There is considerable smoke in the area and we are advising people to keep doors and windows closed.

The swift actions of the hotel staff meant everyone got out of the hotel safely, and we thank them for their efforts.”

Fire crews from as far as Bognor Regis joined the battle against the flames, as shocked onlookers observed the Grade II listed building succumbing to the relentless fire.

Roads around the hotel including Grand Parade, Elms Avenue and Cavendish Place were blocked off by Police, meaning traffic was diverted via Seaside Road.

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