The George in Rye ‘to re-emerge even better’ after devastating fire

The George in Rye hotel will remain closed temporarily after a fire on Saturday morning (July 20).

Monday, 22nd July 2019, 4:26 pm
The George in Rye hotel on fire on Saturday (July 20). Picture: Elaine Thomas

Eight fire engines and 40 firefighters were sent to tackle flames at the historic hotel just after 4.30am.

Everyone was safely evacuated but due to the damage, the hotel will be shut temporarily.

In a public statement to customers, Alex and Katie, owners of The George in Rye said: “After 15 years (in our ownership) of the George being open seven days a week, 24 hours a day the doors have had to be temporarily shut due to a fire in the early hours of Saturday morning, July 20.

The George in Rye hotel on fire on Saturday. Picture: Elaine Thomas

“Thankfully everyone was evacuated safely and damage, although significant, has left much of the building intact. We’d like to extend a massive thanks to the members of the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service who worked tirelessly to save as much of our beautiful historic building as possible.

“The hotel has suffered water damage as a result of the firefighting, which has impacted the restaurant and ballroom. We will also lose the use of some of the bedrooms whilst renovations to the roof are undertaken. We will be piecing together more information for you over the coming days but rest assured we intend to keep you in the loop at every stage.

“We are working very hard to get the George up and running as soon as possible and are determined to re-emerge even better than before.

“We’d like to say a massive thank you for all the messages and offers of support. We have been truly touched by everyone’s love for the George and the goodwill of our local and wider community.”

Firefighters who rushed to the scene also managed to save a bride’s wedding dress.

The hotel, which is on four floors with 46 guest bedrooms, had a wedding party staying in preparation of a wedding when the fire broke out in the hotel’s roof, the fire service said.

A spokesman for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: “The crews carried out significant salvage operations to save as many of the guest’s belongings as possible, including the bride’s wedding dress.

“In total, eight fire appliances, an aerial appliance and Incident Command Unit attended the fire, support by a full command team, with additional relief crews being required.

“Currently, there are two appliances on scene damping down and turning over whilst the Local Authority Building Control assess the stability of the building structure due to extensive fire damage to the roof.”

Due to the age and construction of the hotel, the fire quickly spread through hidden cavities and took hold in the roof void, the spokesman said.

Additional fire appliances, including an aerial ladder platform, were sent to tackle the escalating fire, he said.

Incident Commander Dan Channon added: “This was a challenging incident due to the complex nature of this old building in a confined part of the town.

“Crews had to work extremely hard in arduous conditions, using breathing apparatus, to bring the fire under control and prevent it from spreading to other properties.”

The cause of the fire is currently subject to a fire investigation, the fire service said.

Afterwards, Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd said: “Thank you East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service for your swift and effective response to the fire at The George in Rye.

“We’re all so grateful that no one was hurt. And I gather firefighters managed to save the wedding dress too.”