A review of how a fire spread through a West Midlands hotel is being carried out by West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS).
Firefighters arrived at the Holiday Inn near Walsall within 4 minutes of being mobilised. They immediately started to tackle what was already a significant fire, which soon consumed much of the building.
Aerial photo by Walsall Fire Station, other photographs by John Kennett.
999 calls started to be received shortly before 4pm on Friday 2 August 2019, to the site near Junction 10 of the M6 motorway.
WMFS were supported at the scene throughout the weekend by colleagues from several other agencies and the hotel management.
Our fire investigators are satisfied that the fire started accidentally, in the hotel sauna area.
Gary Taylor, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, said: “Our Fire Control received a 999 call from the Holiday Inn at 3.54pm to a report of an electrical fire in the sauna. Two fire engines were mobilised within 42 seconds, as part of our pre-planned initial response to the site. The first crews arrived in under four minutes.
“Two teams of firefighters wearing breathing apparatus immediately entered the building to fight the fire. However, the fire had already entered the roof space. Shortly afterwards it spread to other parts of the building.
“Fortunately, the premises were successfully evacuated and so our crews tackled the fire from outside. The roof had completely collapsed and we had real concerns about the stability of the remaining structure.”
At its height there were around 50 WMFS personnel at the incident. Over the weekend a total of 19 fire engines, six Brigade Response Vehicles, three aerial platforms and more than 100 personnel were there.
ACFO Taylor added: “The premises were not fitted with fire sprinklers but, previously, our fire safety officers had recommended they be retro-fitted in line with our Fire Authority’s position.
“Our fire investigators believe that the fire started accidentally, in the sauna room. However, we will be carrying out further investigations to try to pinpoint the precise cause. We will also be looking in detail into factors that might have contributed to the spread and scale of the fire.
“This incident is a stark reminder to us all about the devastating impact a fire can have. It underlines the importance of businesses having up-to-date fire safety procedures, and of their staff, guests and visitors familiarising themselves with escape routes as an absolute priority.”