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Press Release - Statement regarding the fire at Cathedral Yard, Exeter, in October 2016
Posted on 29/10/2018

Our firefighters worked extremely hard in very difficult conditions during the Cathedral Yard fire to prevent it spreading further and causing more damage. Fire crews searched the hotel room-to-room to ensure everyone had evacuated safely and then fought the fire from inside the building until the conditions became dangerously unsafe to stay inside the building.

The decision to withdraw was only made when it was confirmed everyone had safely left the hotel and it would have been dangerous for firefighters to remain inside. Firefighters later re-entered the hotel on at least three more occasions and also fought the fire from inside premises in High Street and St Martin’s Lane to prevent the fire spreading. Firefighting operations continued from outside the building for the duration of the incident. This is explained at length in our report which is available on our website.

The buildings affected by the fire comprised of a number of interconnected and adjoining premises, of which the Royal Clarence Hotel was one. Firefighting was taking place internally at different places and at different times within this network of buildings during the incident when required and when it was safe to do so. The complex construction of the network of buildings meant that the fire was spreading unseen through hidden voids, adding to the risk of internal firefighting.

At the time of the incident, the news media were escorted into the buildings on High Street adjoining the rear of the Royal Clarence Hotel, notably Laura Ashley and Costa Coffee, where it could be seen where internal firefighting operations had prevented the fire spreading further into the High Street buildings. 

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