Ryde Castle Hotel partially collapses after fire
- 18 March 2012
- From the section Hampshire & Isle of Wight
A hotel on the Isle of Wight has partially collapsed after a fire broke out during a wedding reception on Saturday night.
The Ryde Castle Hotel, in Ryde, was evacuated and six fire crews called just after 22:00 GMT. No-one was hurt.
Fire investigators are trying to find out if a fireworks display during the wedding reception caused the blaze.
Crews were withdrawn from the building just before the collapse and were still at the scene on Sunday damping down.
Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service said it was focusing on the fireworks display as part of the investigation.
'Dangerous and difficult'
Chief fire officer Steve Apter said about 50 firefighters tackled the fire.
He said: "[They] were faced with quite a serious fire in the roof and the upper floors in the middle part of the building.
"The problem is it's an old building of old construction so access was particularly difficult for crews.
"We managed to bring the fire under control and stop it from spreading any further.
"There was, unfortunately, a wedding party taking place in the hotel at the time so they were evacuated very swiftly with the management of the hotel.
"Everybody was out of the building when firefighters arrived on scene.
"We have had a collapsed middle part of the building so obviously very dangerous and difficult conditions for firefighters to be working in but thankfully no injuries."
He said guests who were staying at the hotel had been moved to alternative accommodation.
Police had been informed about the fireworks display at the hotel about two hours before crews were called to the fire.
Mr Apter said: "Eyewitness reports state that fireworks were actually being set off from the roof of the hotel."
But, he added, it was not yet known if the display had caused the blaze, but that was subject to investigation.
The 18-bedroom hotel overlooks Ryde Esplanade and Harbour.
The castle website claims the building was commissioned by Henry VIII in about 1540 to defend the Spithead, Southampton Water and the Solent from the invasion by the Spanish Armada.
However, historians say the castle is an early Victorian or Georgian structure.
It is thought to have been built in about 1840 as a private family home.
During World War I, the building was used as a hospital and during World War II it was an army headquarters.
"It's very sad to see that much damage to an historic building and obviously the disappointment for the unlucky wedding couple," Mr Apter added.