Image caption The fire quickly spread through the hotel

Fire crews remain at the scene of a Victorian seafront hotel destroyed by a huge blaze amid concerns over the stability of the building.

Eastbourne’s Grade II* listed Claremont Hotel became engulfed in flames after a fire began in its basement on Friday.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue said it had been very badly damaged and measures were in place “should it collapse”.

The gas supply was also being closely monitored as efforts continued to isolate it, the fire service said.

Image copyright Graham Lyn
Image caption The fire broke out in the hotel basement

About 60 firefighters and 12 engines were sent to the scene at the height of the blaze, which broke out at about 08:50 GMT as most guests were having breakfast.

All those in the Claremont, which was evacuated along with neighbouring hotels, were accounted for.

Six people were treated for minor injuries, with one taken to hospital suffering from breathing difficulties.

Image copyright East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption The hotel had become engulfed by flames

The flames quickly spread from the basement of the Claremont to the upper floors, and could be seen coming out of windows and the roof.

Water was taken from the sea to help tackle the blaze, which was brought under control within five hours.

Image copyright East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption Crews used seawater to deal with the fire

The owners of the hotel, Daish’s Holidays, said the “significant damage” to the hotel, which dates back to the 1850s, was “devastating”.

The company said 130 guests and staff members had been in the building when the fire broke out.

Return travel home was arranged for all the guests, while Eastbourne Borough Council provided accommodation for people from neighbouring properties who needed somewhere to stay.

George Brown, group managing director of the holiday firm, said practical advice and support would be offered to customers on matters such as lost personal items.

He added that staff would continue to be paid in the short term, and ways to redeploy them in other roles within the group were being looked at.

One fire engine and a control unit remained at the scene on Saturday afternoon and cordons were still in place.

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