Gallery: Historic Phoenix Hotel and Restaurant in Wisbech gutted by fire

PUBLISHED: 12:52 29 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:37 02 June 2010

Phoenix Hotel and Restaurant in North Brink, Wisbech has been completely gutted by fire

Phoenix Hotel and Restaurant in North Brink, Wisbech has been completely gutted by fire

By Adam Lazzari THE historic 16 bedroom Phoenix Hotel and Restaurant in North Brink, Wisbech was completely gutted by fire today. Twenty five residents of the neighbouring Hare and Hounds Hotel were evacuated to the nearby Hudson Leisure Centre as 56 fire

By Adam Lazzari

THE historic 16 bedroom Phoenix Hotel and Restaurant in North Brink, Wisbech was completely gutted by fire today.

Twenty five residents of the neighbouring Hare and Hounds Hotel were evacuated to the nearby Hudson Leisure Centre as 56 fire fighters fought to bring the blaze under control.

One person was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation as a precautionary measure.

Maurice Moore, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue area manager, said: "Crews arrived at around 1.15am. The fire broke through the roof and the flames were 10-12ft high.

"The structural design of the building made the fire difficult to control.

"There are several historic buildings in the nearby area. All the fire fighters working on this did an absolutely superb job."

Ten members of staff from the National Trust were called to nearby Peckover House shortly after the fire started to recover several valuable items.

Ben Rickett, house manager at Peckover House, was asleep in the building when he was woken by police at around 1.15am.

He said: "We called in about 9-10 members of staff to remove valuable items. We have a list of valuable items we have to remove in these circumstances, in this instance several paintings.

"The sky was completely orange and the smoke was billowing out of the Phoenix Hotel.

"I was very impressed with how the fire service and the police worked to get the fire under control."

Fire service spokesman Jack Cutforth said: "We're waiting for the structural engineer to come and check out the state of the building.

"They have to be sure it's safe before they do anything. We've got five appliances still there; they're damping down and checking for any hot spots."

Much of the internal structure of the hotel, like wooden joists, floorboards and rafters was destroyed by the fire.

North Brink is considered one of the finest Georgian street frontages anywhere in England. It dates back to the 17th Century, when Wisbech was a prosperous port.

The Phoenix nestled close to National Trust property Peckover House, and a stone's throw from Wisbech Grammar school and Elgood's Brewery.

The Phoenix Hotel was famed for its Chinese restaurant, decked out with ornate lacquered screens and giant vases.

North Brink, Chapel Road and Freedom Bridge were closed to traffic as fire fighters cleaned up from the blaze.

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