Free Press Journal

Fire damages landmark hotel in Oxford


London: A landmark hotel in Britain’s university town of Oxford has been damaged after a massive fire broke out at the 150-year-old gothic building, made famous in the detective television series ‘Inspector Morse’. No one was seriously injured at the five-star Macdonald Randolph Hotel in the historic city centre of the University of Oxford, but hundreds of guests and staff had to be evacuated.

The blaze started at around 4.30 PM local time on Friday in the hotel’s ground floor kitchen, firefighters said, and is not believed to be suspicious. It took 14 engines from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service to tackle the flames as worried people gathered outside, watching smoke rise from the historical building’s roof.

Thick black smoke could be seen coming from the 150-year-old gothic building on Beaumont Street. Simon Furlong, assistant chief fire officer at Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We were working overnight to damp down the embers. There was a wedding party, we were liaising with them and we went back in and got the rings and the floor plans. Those are small things but it’s someone’s special day today.”

He said the fire had “spread up through some voids” through the building to the roof which would have protected much of the interior. The extent of the damage is not yet known. All guests were accommodated at alternative hotels overnight by the Macdonald Group, which runs the Randolph Hotel.

Road closures around the site remain in place this morning. Three people were assessed by South Central Ambulance Service at the scene for the effects of breathing in smoke, but did not need further medical attention.