Evacuation after fire breaks out in hotel

HOMELESS people were safely evacuated from their temporary accommodation in a hotel after a fire broke out in one of the bedrooms on Sunday afternoon (18 October).

The blaze started in an upstairs room at the Woking Hotel, which was taken over at the beginning of the pandemic to house people who might otherwise be sleeping on the streets.

CeeJay Williams took this photograph of fire appliances by the front door of Woking Hotel, showing firefighters recovering after wearing breathing apparatus to enter the building

Flames and smoke were seen coming out of a second-floor window by the general manager of a bar opposite the hotel in Chertsey Road, Woking.

“I heard fire engine sirens and looked out to see the hotel on fire,” said CeeJay Williams, who lives in a flat above The Junction Tap. “The firefighters move pretty quickly and took hoses up the fire escape on the side of the building and through the front door.

“After a while, some firefighters wearing breathing apparatus came out and collapsed on to a tarpaulin in the road looking exhausted, so it must have been pretty hot in there.”

This photograph taken by CeeJay Williams shows smoke billowing from a bedroom window

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service sent seven fire engines and an aerial ladder platform to the incident at around 2.20pm. A brigade spokesman said between 11 and 20 square metres of damage had been caused.

Crews remained at the 26-bedroom hotel until 4.15pm to make sure the fire was completely extinguished.

Homeless people are being housed in the hotel in a collaboration between Woking Borough Council and the York Road Project charity.

A council spokesman said: “A small fire broke out in a bedroom and the incident is being treated as an accident. The fire was quickly detected and the building evacuated. The emergency services arrived promptly and the fire was contained to one room with minimal damage.

“We would like to extend our thanks to all parties who helped to contain the fire and brought it to a safe and prompt conclusion.”

York Road Project chief executive Cath Stamper said the people living in the hotel were quickly evacuated after the fire was discovered and no-one was hurt. “As with any fire, it could have been worse, but all evacuation procedures worked perfectly,” she added.

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