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Historic Brighton hotel fire caused by discarded cigarette, fire service says

East Sussex Fire and Rescue said the blaze which led to the evacuation of the surrounding area was accidental.

A fire that “ruined” a historic Brighton hotel was likely started by a discarded cigarette, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have said.

Fire crews were called to the Royal Albion Hotel on the East Sussex city’s seafront at about 5.30pm on Saturday July 15, battling the blaze which was brought under control by July 17.

Approximately 100 people were evacuated from the surrounding area.

A spokesperson from the fire service said: “East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service can confirm the fire at the Albion Hotel in Brighton on 15 July 2023 was accidental.

“A fire investigation has concluded that it was likely started by a discarded cigarette which had not been completely put out.”

Brighton hotel fire
Police and firefighters at the scene in Brighton after a fire at the Royal Albion Hotel (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Work to demolish the “dangerously unstable” part of the building has been ongoing since the July incident.

On September 29, Brighton and Hove council leader Bella Sankey said: “The building is extremely fragile following the fire, so the work has to be slow and painstaking.

“We have agreed a way forward with Historic England to make sure we are not removing any more heritage features than absolutely necessary.”

The 219-bedroom regency-style hotel, which overlooks Brighton Pier, was built in 1826. It is run by Britannia Hotels.

It is expected Britannia Hotels to cover the cost of the demolition, Ms Sankey added.

Part of the building was Grade II-listed by English Heritage and suffered a previous fire in November 1998.

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