A HUGE blaze destroyed a derelict four-storey hotel and spread to the roof of another just two years after warnings about fire safety at the site.

More than 100 firefighters tackled the fierce flames at the former Orchid Gardens Hotel in Gervis Road, previously known as the Woodcroft Tower Hotel.

Bournemouth Echo:

The fire also spread to neighbouring hotels and hundreds of guests at both the Hotel Celebrity and Britannia Hotel were evacuated.

Road closures were put in place at Bath Hill, Grove Road, Gervis Road and Meyrick Road.
Emergency services were alerted at 11.26pm on Wednesday night.

Sixteen crews used main jets and hose reel jets to tackle the fire, and two aerial ladder platforms were in use.

A high volume pump from Christchurch was also sent to the scene to boost the water supply.

A Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “Two neighbouring hotels were evacuated as a precaution, with all residents accommodated at other hotels for the night. There has been some fire spread to the roof of a building.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Following a fire at the site two years ago, the owner of the neighbouring Hotel Celebrity said he had previously voiced concerns about the safety of the site.

Ken Robins told the Daily Echo: “We have been complaining for years about the totally inadequate precautions taken by the hotel owners to make the property safe and to ensure people cannot easily access the grounds of the hotel and the hotel building. For such a major conflagration despite the hotel being empty for several years there must still be considerable flammable materials on site.”

He described the site, which has been boarded up for many years, as “a disaster waiting to happen” and said it has been used by squatters and drug dealers Mr Robins said he has tried to restrict access to the derelict building himself because of fears over the safety of neighbouring properties.

Bournemouth Echo:

DWFRS crews involved in fighting the fire included Springbourne, Westbourne, Redhill Park, Christchurch, Poole, Ferndown, Hamworthy, Wimborne and Verwood, together with the ALP from Westbourne and a support unit from Hamworthy.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service sent crews from New Milton and Burley, together with a water carrier from Ringwood and the ALP from St Mary’s in Southampton, both with supporting pumps.

Bournemouth Echo:

The fire spokesman added: “Local people are being advised to be aware of the smoke still issuing from the scene and are asked not to call 999 unless they are certain the fire they are seeing is not this incident. Anyone in close proximity to the affected area should keep doors and windows closed as a precaution.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Scores of on-call firefighters were involved in the incident including Station Commander Matt Scott from Shaftesbury and firefighter Matt Forbes from Swanage.

They said more part-time crew members are needed to boost the numbers with around 80 per cent of all firefighters in the region employed on an on-call basis.

Bournemouth Echo:

Bournemouth Echo:

Mr Scott said: “On-call firefighters were called out in the night to take over from exhausted firefighters from other stations.”

Mr Forbes added: “We are just as qualified and it is so rewarding. I don’t think people realise how many part-time crew members are needed.”

Go to dwfire.org.uk/working-for-us/current-vacancies/ for details.