12 Hour Fight to Control Turners Hill Hotel Fire

« Back to blog home13 Aug 2015 by Indepth Hygiene

The basement kitchen of Alexander House & Utopia spa, a Five-AA star, 58-bedroomed hotel in Sussex was destroyed by flames and smoke in the early hours of last Wednesday, 5th August.

Due to the severity of the fire additional assistance was called for almost immediately upon arrival by the first fire fighters so that a total of 6 fire engines and 30 firefighters ended up working in sections throughout the building for nearly 12 hours to control the blaze and dampen down adjacent at risk areas.

Whilst half the Ground Floor was reportedly damaged the rest of the building remained intact despite some smoke damage and all guests and staff were safely evacuated with no one reported as injured in the blaze. Leanne Cleaver, Marketing Manager for the hotel stated “We have no reason to speculate that it was anything more than accidental but an investigation is ongoing”.

Fire & Rescue Services have recently reported a spate of similar fires starting in the kitchens of buildings with catering facilities. Kitchens are of course universally acknowledged as the most fire hazardous area in any building, but what is not always appreciated is that extract ductwork systems within these catering facilities can make what would otherwise be a small localised fire much more destructive. These systems are designed to suck up grease laden air from cooking activities and vent them to atmosphere. However, they can also suck up small sparks from the cooking process so that a little ‘flare up’ which is thought to have been dealt with easily in the kitchen itself may have unknowingly started a major blaze in the ductwork where any uncleaned accumulations of grease, dust and debris help the fire spread throughout the rest of the building, making it far more widespread, damaging and thus costly.

There is no indication that these systems contributed in any way to the fire at Alexander House, but reports of this and similar kitchen fires may help remind owners and managers of properties with catering facilities to have them regularly and professional cleaned, in compliance with Fire Safety Legislation and insurance warranties to ensure any claims for damages are not disputed.

Alexander House is one of three properties operated by Alexander Hotels, together with Landshott Manor near Gatwick Airport & Rowhill Grange in Wilmington, Kent.