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Summary

  1. Exeter blaze declared 'major incident' by fire service
  2. The Royal Clarence Hotel - reported to be the first hotel in England - is destroyed by fire
  3. Gold Command declared as fire crews continue to tackle blaze
  4. Appeal to key holders in Cathedral Green to come forward as emergency services fear fire might spread
  5. Fire crews send team to get water from River Exe
  6. South West Water asks city residents to restrict their water use
  7. Fire initially started in a gallery at 05:20 near Exeter Cathedral
  8. 'About 110 firefighters' are at the scene and a cordon has been set up
  9. Firefighters from Dorset to help Devon crews
  10. Roads are closed across the city
  11. Updates on Friday 28 October 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

That's all from BBC Local Live in Devon & Cornwall for today, we'll be back on Monday at 08:00 to bring you all the day's news, sport, travel and weather updates.

Don't miss BBC Spotlight at 22:30 tonight.

Fire service 'expects to be at fire scene all weekend'

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

The fire service expects to be on the scene of the major blaze in Exeter all weekend, Devon and Somerset chief fire officer says.

Police officers are being called in from across Devon to staff a cordon around the area for the weekend at least, the force has told us.

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View more on twitter

'More shops to open tomorrow'

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell said emergency services plan to allow more shops to open tomorrow after many were cordoned off in the battle to quell a raging fire at the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter.

Fire
Jane Rogers

He said: "We recognise people's concerns and we're hoping to allow access to one side of the shopping precinct and we are doing all we can to accommodate traders."

BBC reporter: 'Exeter changed forever'

More pictures of the fire at the Royal Clarence Hotel taken earlier today

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

Fire
@HaiwenJ
Fire
@HaiwenJ
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@HaiwenJ
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Exeter fire in numbers

BBC Spotlight

  • 27 pumping appliances at the scene
  • Four aerial ladder platforms and other supporting appliances in Cathedral Green
  • Crews are using six main jets, seven hose reel jets, ladders, and 16 breathing apparatus sets

Drivers warned of ramp over fire hose

Devon Highways is asking drivers to be aware of a ramp over a hose which is pumping water from the river to Cathedral Green.

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Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter 'older than it looks'

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

Historian Dr Todd Gray said the fire-hit Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter is "older than it looks".

He said: "A report by Exeter Archeology shows that its medieval, the top bit was 18th Century.

All those buildings in there have medieval origins and the buildings in between are very fine 17th Century buildings of Exeter at its height.

"So whatever you see from the outside, it’s got a deeper, more interesting past just behind the plasterwork. It’s hugely significant for Exeter.”

Exeter
BBC

Firefighters continue to battle Exeter blaze

Kirk England

BBC Radio Devon

Exeter
BBC

Exeter households offered bottled water as fire shrinks supplies

Jonathan Morris

BBC News Online

South West Water is offering Exeter city centre households bottled water as a fire at the Royal Clarence Hotel shrinks supplies.

Exeter
Jane Rogers

The fire service is already drawing water from the river as water levels fall.

City centre customers are being asked to restrict water use as much as possible. Other parts of Exeter are unaffected.   

Exeter eerily quiet for a Friday evening, apart from the firefighters tackling the major blaze

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Exeter
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Exeter
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Exeter
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Celebrity chef Michael Caines 'gutted' to see hotel on fire

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

Celebrity chef Michael Caines, who launched his first Michael Caines Restaurant at the hotel in 2000 before ending his association earlier this year, wrote on Twitter: "Gutted to see the #royalclarence on fire. Real loss to Exeter. "Heart goes out to the firefighters who are doing their best to contain it."

Michael Caines
Getty Images

Fire crews prepare to work through the night

Exeter City Council has talked about the 'great community spirit' following fire

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

Exeter fire: Flames rise again in hotel as evening falls

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Firefighters from Dorset to help Devon crews

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Fire crews from Dorset Fire and Rescue Service are coming to assist Devon firefighters in Exeter.

More than 100 firefighters from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service are tackling the blaze.

Firefighters battle hotel blaze from scaffolding

Miles Davis

BBC News Online

Exeter resident Jenny Stowe filmed this footage of firefighters trying to hose down the Royal Clarence Hotel blaze.

Firefighters tackle Exeter blaze

At the scene: Almost 13 hours on and the fire is still burning

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

It's almost 13 hours since the fire started. 

Working in TV we're normally searching for the flames but this has just been a day when the flames have kept coming.

Everybody thought at 0930 this morning the worst was over.

Then suddenly flames were spotted in the Royal Clarence and it's been a battle to get them under control.

Drone footage: Fire crews tackle hotel blaze

BBC pictures of the Cathedral Green and the Royal Clarence Hotel in the 1970s

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

Cathedral Green
BBC
Cathedral Green
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Cathedral Green
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Exeter fire: 'High likelihood of heat transfer to adjacent buildings'

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

Lee Howell, Chief Fire Officer, said: "I want to say how grateful we are for local businesses and people bringing out cups of tea and making sure everyone is OK.

"This is a very serious fire. It is ongoing, we're making progress but it is complicated. 

"We are dealing with very old and historical buildings, new building's don't operate in the same way.

"There's a high likelihood of heat transfer to adjacent buildings. Appliances have been using foam and water spray. We are making good progress."

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HaiwenJ

Devon and Cornwall Police Deputy Chief Constable Bill Skelly, the incident Gold Commander, said: "Devon and Cornwall Police are supporting the fire service in their efforts on what is a sad day for Exeter and the whole of Devon as a county.

"We will do our best to return Exeter to normal and deal with the fire in the most effective manner."

Exeter fire: Closures and cordons 'to remain overnight'

Due to the seriousness of the fire it is likely road closures in Exeter will remain in place throughout the evening and overnight, police have said.

There are further cordons on the cathedral side of Cathedral Green on the approach from Southernhay on the Cathedral Close footpath and also near to the cathedral gardens. 

Cathedral Green will remain cordoned off and not accessible to the public while the fire service completes its work.

It is not known at this time how the fire started. No injuries reported.

Fire crews still pumping water from River Exe

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

Fire chief says hotel floors have collapsed

Matt Woodley

BBC Radio Devon

Floors in a fire-hit hotel in Exeter have collapsed, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service's Chief Fire Officer Lee Howell has told BBC News.

He said "trapped pockets of fire" will continue until the "fuel is extinguished".

"We're making good progress, but we will be here for some time."

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Fire crews continue to tackle hotel blaze

Hotel
BBC

Exeter fire: 'Renovation work investigated as possible cause of blaze'

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

The BBC understands renovation work at the art gallery where the fire started is being investigated as a possible cause of the blaze.

South West Water asks Exeter residents to temporarily restrict their water use

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

The statement from South West Water reads: "South West Water is appealing to customers in the city centre and Wonford areas of Exeter to temporarily restrict their water use as much as possible.

"This is to help make as much water available as possible to the fire service, which is currently tackling a major fire in Exeter city centre.

"Some customers in the city centre and potentially in the Wonford area may experience low pressure or discoloration of their water supply.

"The Royal Devon & Exeter and Nuffield hospitals will not be affected."

Major fire 'expected to burn into the night'

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

Exeter fire: What we know so far...

Chris Ellis

BBC News Online

  • The Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter is still on fire
  • A major incident has been declared and all emergency services including more than 100 firefighters are at the scene at Cathedral Green
  • The fire started early this morning at the Castle Fine Art gallery and then spread to the hotel which was evacuated
  • The art gallery has been destroyed
  • Firefighters say they're doing all they can to stop the flames spreading to other buildings in the city
  • Water has been collected from the River Exe by fire crews
  • Chief fire officer says 'buildings are irreplaceable' 
  • Most of roads in the city centre are closed

'Very rare and sad sight'

Simon Hall, Home Affairs Correspondent

BBC Spotlight

A very rare, and very sad sight. 

Exeter Cathedral has also been closed as work to fight the major fire in the city centre goes on.  

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BBC

Exeter fire: Further statement from Royal Clarence Hotel

Following the sad events of today, we would first like to thank both our staff, who ensured the safety of all of our guests staying with us at the time, and all the emergency services involved. We are working with the fire services to ensure the safety of the building currently.

ABode Exeter

Exeter fire: How the papers are covering the story...

The Guardian: Exeter fire threatens one of Britain's oldest hotels

The Sun: Firefighters battling to save Britain’s oldest hotel after blaze tears through 250-year-old building  

Express and Echo: Exeter business offers help to those affected by devastating city centre fire

At the scene of Exeter fire: 'Businesses advised to close to save water'

Kirk England

BBC Radio Devon

I've come into South Street to get a different perspective. There is a real risk this could spread. 

The area is totally closed to vehicles, we're surrounded by fire engines and there are lots of people here.

They need to use a lot of water. Businesses are being advised to close to save the water and residents have been told to expect low pressure or no water pressure.

There's only one thing anyone can talk about.

Right now I can see an enormous red hose pipe being dragged across the green. They're trying to access more water to get hold of the fire.

The smoke is still billowing out.

Engagement ring and grandfather's watch lost in Royal Clarence Hotel fire

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

Hotel guests speak about what they have lost in the fire

Historian says the site of the fire in Exeter is the 'medieval hub of the city'

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

A historian has described the site of the fire in Exeter as the "medieval hub of the city" and the "business hub of the city from the 15th to 18th centuries".

Dr Todd Gray said: "This is where all the trade took place, this is where you did your business deals.

"It was the fine centre where gentlemen would rent rooms all year just to have a presence in Exeter.

"It’s the heart of the city really."

Fire
BBC

Exeter blaze: Fire crews collect river water

Hamish Marshall

BBC Spotlight

A large pump is being brought in to bring water from the River Exe to fight the fire at The Royal Clarence Hotel.  

Quay
BBC

Firefighters 'doing all they can' to stop huge fire spreading

BBC Radio Devon

Firefighters says they're doing all they can to stop a huge fire in the centre of Exeter spreading.

A major incident has been declared and all emergency services including more than 100 firefighters are at the scene at the Royal Clarence Hotel at Cathedral Green.

The fire started early this morning at the Castle Fine Art gallery but then spread. 

View more on twitter

Chief fire officer says 'buildings are irreplaceable'

Claire Jones

BBC News Online

Lee Howell, Chief Fire Officer, said: "This is a very serious fire for us, we have 20 appliances.

"There was a severe fire this morning, in a gallery, four floors have collapsed on top of each other, the fire then spread on to the roof.

"We're doing all we can to stop it from spreading.

"We are concerned about the building next to the Royal Clarence.

"The safety of firefighters is paramount. We've got a lot of resources here, sometimes we just need to be patient to allow the strategy to work. 

"Some of these buildings are irreplaceable. We have businesses that want to open tomorrow and we'll do all we can for them."

Exeter
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Thomson pilot sees Exeter fire from air