Exeter blaze: Fire ravaged hotel will be demolished

PUBLISHED: 21:27 30 October 2016 | UPDATED: 09:42 24 November 2016

The remains of the Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter. Photo by D&C Police Drones

The remains of the Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter. Photo by D&C Police Drones

Archant

The fire stricken shell of Britain’s oldest hotel, the Royal Clarence, in Exeter’s Cathedral Yard, cannot be saved, structural experts have announced. The hotel remains will be demolished within days.

The remains of the Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter. Photo by D&C Police DronesThe remains of the Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter. Photo by D&C Police Drones

The fire ravaged façade of the Royal Clarence Hotel is expected to be demolished within days after structural experts said the remains cannot be saved.

Structural engineers spent time examining the remains of the hotel, in Cathedral Yard, earlier today.

Demolition crews could start work on the shell as early as Monday, once the fire service deems the area safe and hands over the site to engineers.

Fire crews remain on site, dampening down hot spots, and cordons will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

The remains of the Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter. Photo by D&C Police DronesThe remains of the Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter. Photo by D&C Police Drones

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “We need to guard against complacency and make sure the fire is completely out before we hand over the site to the engineers.

“The demolition can be quite a complex piece of work and we have got to think about how to get the equipment on site.

“We need to think about how to get the city open for business and how that fits with safe demolition – we can’t just go in and knock it down.”

Devon and Cornwall Police warned of ‘disruption to walking routes’ in and around Cathedral Yard and Exeter city centre.

A police spokesperson said: “All are working hard at the scene and we are working towards reducing the size of the cordon and allow a number of affected businesses to open and trade as usual as soon as we’re able.

“Once these decisions have been made, we hope to be able to share with affected local businesses and the general public, the current state of play and the situation for Exeter city centre as we move into a new working week.”

More than 100 firefighters battled around the clock to save the Royal Clarence Hotel, thought to be the oldest hotel in Britain; it was destroyed by a blaze when fire spread from a neighbouring property in the early hours of Friday morning.

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